|Ethics Opinions for 2008|
Section 7-5-104(a) prohibits employees who are the owners of an entity from assisting or representing that entity in a contract with the county.
Supplemental: Granting a power of attorney to a third person to assist or represent an entity that seeks to contract with the county does not effectively eliminate the appearance of a conflict of interest where the owners of the entity are county employees, under the circumstances described in the opinion.
A member of the county council may not accept an invitation to attend a cocktail reception, dinner and show that is offered by a commercial establishment regardless of whether the donor is a "controlled donor" because the gift is offered to the council member in an official capacity and exceeds $100 in value.
A member of the PAB may make presentations to organizations concerning matters of interest to the county as long as the member expressly states that the presentation is not being made on behalf of the PAB and the member is not representing or assisting an entity in making the presentation.
|AO-08-23 Supplemental |
A PAB member may not represent or assist any person or entity in any matter in which the county has an interest. Since the county generally has an interest in any matter that may come before the PAB, a member may not represent or assist any person or entity as to any of those matters. As long as the member is not advocating the position of any person or entity, or promoting the agenda of any person or entity, the member is free to express personal opinions or provide public information in any forum.
An employee may not use county resources to promote discounted services offered to county employees by a private vendor under the circumstances described in the opinion.
The county administration may solicit an entity to donate prizes for a contest where the prize winners are county citizens and where the solicitation does not target "controlled donors."
A legislative assistant may serve, in a personal capacity, on the board of directors of an organization that receives a grant from the county, subject to certain limitations.
An elected official may accept a free ticket to the Rotary Club annual crab feast, from the organization conducting the event, as a courtesy to the office.
A former employee may bid on contracts under a program the employee previously administered since the employee did not previously work on the specific contracts that will be put out for bid and since the employee does not possess confidential information that will give the new employer an advantage over other potential bidders.
A firefighter may not contract to sell equipment to the volunteer company where the firefighter is stationed and over which the firefighter has some operational control.
An employee in the auditor's office may continue to serve on the board of the employee's community association but is subject to non-participation provisions as described in the opinion.
A forester in the department of inspections and permits may continue to engage in secondary employment as a forester as long as the secondary employment does not include clients who are subject to the authority of the department. The forester may also continue to serve on the agricultural preservation board, since that board is not considered a secondary employer.
Employees of the fire department may not accept travel expenses to attend a conference from an organization representing controlled donors.
An employee in the office of planning and zoning has the same rights as any property owner to sell real property, to apply for permits, and to permit potential purchasers of the property to apply for permits through the planning and zoning office. The employee may not participate in any matter in an official capacity that involves the employee's real property.
An elected official may accept an invitation to participate in a foursome in a charity golf tournament. (But see revised opinion, following)
A council member may not accept an invitation to participate in a charity golf tournament from one of the sponsors of the event, since one of the investment partners of that sponsor currently has business pending before the county council.
The proper authority to provide advice concerning distribution of county printed resource materials is the chief administrative officer, not the ethics commission.
Council members may accept free tickets to the boat show from the holder of the event since the donor is not a controlled donor and since the value of the gift is under $25.
An employee who received certification in ArcGIS at county expense to qualify to train county employees, may use the certification to teach others as a secondary employment in order to keep the certification current.
An appointed official may not accept a gift to attend the anniversary celebration of a local restaurant where the value of the gift is $200.
A member of a volunteer board may not contract with a person who has a contract with the member’s board.
An elected official may use that official’s county website to promote support for ballot questions that will change the County Charter, since it is a facet of constituent services, and does not promote the candidacy for political office of any candidate. The official may also make a public service announcement on television to encourage people to vote.
A county employee may not act as a subcontractor on a contract with the county because of the prohibition on assisting an entity in any matter in which the county has an interest.
A county council member may serve on the board of directors of Leadership Anne Arundel, Inc., subject to a number of limitations imposed by the ethics law. The council member is advised to fully disclose prior to participating in any official county matter the name of any other director, sponsor or other associate of the LAA who may be affected by a decision in the matter.