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Stricter Ethics Rules Coming for College Park Officials

Ethics Rules

City attorney has recently worked with the City Ethics Commission to draft a revision to the City ethics code that meets MD state requirements.

Those state ethics law passed in 2010 requires that all municipalities and counties around the State revise their ethics codes to meet certain requirements.

Copies of the ordinance are available here.

The two major substantive changes are a requirement that each candidate for office file a financial disclosure statement for the current and prior years, and provisions regarding the consequences for failure to file such a statement and certifying that each elected official is in compliance.

The revised Ordinance lays out more clearly when an elected official or employee has a significant enough financial interest in something to not be permitted to deal with that entity in any way as a City official.

It also clarifies the circumstances in which an elected or appointed official can receive any item of value from someone who may have business before the City or not.

The new financial disclosure statement is pretty expansive, especially for Councilmembers and candidates for City Council, and includes a number of questions about specific property owned by and debts owed by each elected or appointed official.

These do NOT apply for board and committee members.

During last week’s worksession, the Council also decided to add a requirement that the Ethics Commission provide a training on the ethics requirements to all elected officials, candidates, employees and board and commission appointees as necessary and appropriate, and added that a candidate for elected office must report on both the current year and the preceding year.

The Mayor and Council held a public hearing in last night’s council session.

[Source: NCP listserve]

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