Ethics commission should examine WCD decision
Thanks to Bernadette Smith for raising the issue of “Who really benefits from the watershed conservation district?,” in the July 14 letter to the editor in the Maryland Independent. Past county commissioners have addressed the issue of improper influence, as an excerpt from the Charles County Code of Ethics states:
“The Board of County Commissioners of Charles County, Maryland, recognizing that our system of representative government is dependent in part upon the people maintaining the highest trust in their public officials and employees, finds and declares that the people have a right to be assured that the impartiality and independent judgment of public officials and employees will be maintained.
It is evident that this confidence and trust is eroded when the conduct of the county’s business is subject to improper influence and even the appearance of improper influence.”
Should the Charles County Ethics Commission investigate whether the decision regarding the WCD was subject to improper influence? Can voters be assured that the decision was made with impartiality and independent judgment?
The online Charles County Property Account Tax Inquiry system is an easy to use database and can identify property owners throughout the county. Voters can check the property account information for themselves on the Charles County treasurer’s website to see who owns property in Western Charles. (http://www.charlescounty. org/treas/taxes/acctinquiry/ selection.jsp). I recommend that the county Ethics Commission also check and determine whether there might be conflict of interest.