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Index of Opinions 2011

A member of the Tipton Airport Authority, who is also employed by a contractor with the county, may serve on the Spending Affordability Committee.  

An employee may accept reasonable travel and lodging expenses from a controlled donor to attend a conference where the employee will be participating as a speaker in a roundtable discussion.
The Area Agency Advisory Council to the Anne Arundel County Department of Aging and Disabilities is not covered by the Public Ethics Law and appointments to the council of entities doing business with the department, including county grant recipients, are not prohibited by the ethics law.
A council member may participate in legislation where the member has no current interest in the outcome of the vote.
The ethics law does not prohibit the volunteer coordinator for the fire department to serve as a vice-president of the Maryland State Firemen's Association, subject to the limitations set forth in the opinion.
The legislative assistant to a county council member may engage in secondary employment as a columnist for a local newspaper, subject to the limitations set forth in the opinion. 
A former county council member may lobby the county council on a comprehensive rezoning request for a client when that council member previously participated in the revision of the general development plan.
Fire and police employees may not accept a gift of free tax preparation services (valued at $95) because under the prestige of office provision of the ethics law, a gratuity worth in excess of $25 is not acceptable.  
County council members may accept free admission to attend the Chamber of Commerce's teacher appreciation event, because it falls within the exception to the gift prohibitions as a "cultural event."
A council member may accept free admission to a charitable event hosted by a controlled donor where the free admission was randomly won during an earlier event  attended and paid for by the council member prior to the member's election to office. 
An employee may accept a gift offered by another county government, which is not considered to be a controlled donor. 
An employee may participate as a speaker in an official capacity at a seminar in  held by a private organization, where the employee is not compensated for that service. 
Library facilities may not be used and library employees may not participate during work hours in any charitable fundraising activity unless the activity is specifically approved by the county executive.
Public safety employees may participate in their personal capacities, and as board members in the 100 Club of Anne Arundel County.
A council member is presumed to have a conflict of interest as to any legislation that will affect the member's business interests, and unless the presumption is rebutted, may not participate in legislative activity on that bill
Elected officials may not accept free tickets costing $50 to an event held by a lobbyist unless the event is cultural, charitable, or political.  An event to raise money for the lobbyist's PAC is not one of those events.   
An employee in the department of inspections and permits may not engage in secondary employment as a consultant to an employer who does business with the employee's department.
Hiring the spouse of an employee to work in the same office, for a job where the qualifications would be fairly generalized, would reasonably create the appearance of a conflict of interest.
The administrator to the county council may continue to serve, in a personal capacity, on the board of the Anne Arundel County Food Bank, Inc. 
An employee may not accept a free ticket, worth $125, from a lobbyist, to attend an event held by the lobbyist because the gift is not of nominal or modest value. 
A council member who has a pending liquor license application is not prohibited by the ethics law from participating in legislative activity that would permit police officers to engage in secondary employment for taverns as long as the council member's business is not a tavern.   
Council members may not accept free tickets to a conference and reception offered by a private entity if the entity has not registered to lobby and if the cost of the tickets are $40 per person.
A state agency is not a controlled donor for the purpose of inviting county employees to attend a local sports events as part of a government agency networking event. 
The police department may lend photos and other items to a business entity for use in its facility as long as that service is available to all similar entities on an equal basis. 
A council member may not accept gift card worth $50 as an honorarium for giving a speech to a community group.  

An elected official may accept tickets to the boat shows from the holder of the event if neither the donor nor the event sponsors are "controlled donors" and if the gift was offered a a courtesy to the office.

A council member should refrain from participating in legislative activity where close economic associates are likely to have an interest in the outcome.
Employees of the library may purchase raffle tickets sold at the library, and they may accept any prizes they may win, under the circumstances described in the opinion. 
A county official may not accept the gift of a lunch from a controlled donor if the lunch exceeds $25 in value.
A controlled donor may give a gift to a retired employee but may not incorporate an official county logo in any part of the gift.
An agency may not promote a charitable fundraiser, even one that will benefit the agency, without the prior approval of the county executive.
Determining the value of an invitation to a party or event depends on whether everybody who is invited attends for free or whether some people are required to pay for admission. 
County employees may not accept an invitation to a reception hosted by a lobbying entity at the Congressional Country Club, where the entity is unable to disclose the cost per person of the meal/beverage. In this situation, the ethics commission assumes that the value exceeds $25 and is therefore not a permissible gift. 

First responders from one district may not accept an invitation to a reception hosted by a controlled donor, either for free, or at a discount, where the reception is held solely for the employees and where the cost to the donor is significant.  These factors create the appearance that the gift is designed to impair the impartial conduct of the county‚Äôs business.


Gift cards worth a total of $20, given as a promotion by a retailer for the purchase of certain office supplies with a county credit card may be donated by the county agency receiving them to another county agency to be used for the benefit of county citizens.


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Anne Arundel County, Maryland. 44 Calvert Street, Annapolis, Maryland 21401 | Tele: (410) 222-7000