Ethics com­mis­sion should ex­am­ine WCD de­ci­sion

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum - J.R. Cur­tis, La Plata

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.

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