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About Ethics Commission

The Anne Arundel County Ethics Commission administers the Public Ethics Law. It is an independent agency, performing its duties and responsibilities without the oversight of the county government.
It is served by a staff of two employees, an executive director, who is a lawyer licensed to practice law in Maryland, and an assistant to the commission.

The Members of the Commission
The members of the Anne Arundel County Ethics Commission are volunteers.  Three of the members are nominated by the county council and four are selected by the county executive, subject to the approval of the county council. . Each member serves a four-year term, and no more than four members may belong to the same political party. The Anne Arundel County Charter, Article X, Section 1001 establishes the qualifications for membership on the commission as follows:
  • A commission member must be a resident of Anne Arundel County
  • A commission member may not hold and may not be a candidate for an elected or appointed office of the federal, state, or local government or a political party
  • A commission member may not be an employee of the federal, state, or local government or a political party
  • A commission member may not be a lobbyist required to register under any federal, state, or local public ethics law
  • A commission member may not participate in the campaign of a candidate for elective office, or support or oppose a ballot question at any general or special election, except a question directly affecting the commission

The Chairperson

Vanessa S. Carter retired from Anne Arundel County in 2015 after 22 years of service, 18 of them with the Department of Health. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in urban planning from Michigan State University, and received her Masters of Arts degree in management from Notre Dame of Maryland University.
Vanessa is currently a member of the 21st Century Club, and the Maryland Sister States Committee for the Leningrad Region of the Russian Federation. She has served on a variety of boards and committees including Arundel Community Development Services, Leadership Anne Arundel, Chrysalis House, London Town Foundation, Opportunity Builders, Department of Social Services, Arts Council of Anne Arundel County, the YWCA’s Tribute to Women and Industry awards, and was a member of the founding board of trustees for the Wiley H. Bates Legacy Center in Annapolis.
Vanessa S. Carter

The Members 

Karl Appel is a Certified Public Accountant and Managing Partner of The Gardiner & Appel Group in Severna Park, Maryland. He works with local individuals and businesses, and is committed to providing financial expertise for his clients.

Karl graduated with honors from The University of Notre Dame with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting, and has a Master of Science in Taxation from the University of Baltimore. He spent the first twelve years of his career with two major accounting firms, Peat Marwick (now KPMG), and Deloitte. He then worked as Chief Financial Officer for The Circle Companies, a real estate development company, before joining The Gardiner Group in 1998.

Karl is a Registered Investment Advisor, and was awarded the Small Business Administration’s Maryland Accountant Champion of the Year in 2006. He recently completed the Executive Integral Leadership program at The University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business.

Professional affiliations include AICPA, MACPA, Severna Park/Arnold Chamber of Commerce (Past President 2010-2011), the Notre Dame Alumni Club of Maryland (Past President 1995). Karl currently serves on the Anne Arundel County Ethics Commission, and has been on the Finance Committee at Chartwell Country Club for the past seven years.

A native of Western Pennsylvania, Karl has lived in Severna Park, Maryland for 35 years with his wife Leigh. They have two daughters, Lynn and Jessica, and son-in-law Dan Severn.

Karl Appel

Katherine K Cawood is a semi-retired attorney.  She graduated from Georgetown Law in 1961 and was admitted to the Maryland Bar that fall.  After practicing law in Annapolis for many years, she moved her office to her home, "Evergreen" in southern Anne Arundel County.  She is the widow of The Honorable James C. Cawood, Jr. who was on the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County for many years.  Mrs. Cawood and her husband have seven children and 12 grandchildren.  She is a registered Democrat.



Emerson C. Davis is a retired police officer with the Anne Arundel County Police Department.  He retired as Deputy Chief of Police after serving 35 years.  He has served as an Ex-Officio member of the Anne Arundel County Commission on Disability Issues and the Anne Arundel County Mental Health Commission.  Mr. Davis has earned a Bachelor’s Degree from York College of Pa. in Criminal Justice and a Master’s Degree from Johns Hopkins University in Applied Behavioral Science and Leadership. He is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy.  Mr. Davis, born and raised in Pennsylvania, has lived in Anne Arundel County since 1976 and resides in Arnold with his wife Donna.  He has two grown sons.  Mr. Davis is a registered Republican.  



Dale P. Kelberman is a graduate of Gettysburg College and the University of Baltimore Law School.  Dale retired from the practice of law after approximately 36 years.  He was a long-time State and Federal prosecutor, having served as an Assistant State’s Attorney for Baltimore City, an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Maryland, and an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Maryland.  Dale also was a partner in the Baltimore office of Miles & Stockbridge, P.C., where he handled white collar criminal defense and civil litigation.

Dale and his wife currently live in Murray Hill in downtown Annapolis, and they have been residents of Anne Arundel County since 1975.  They have two grown children.  Dale previously served as the Chairman of the Annapolis Compensation Commission, and he is a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity.


John W. Van de Kamp has a Bachelor of Science from the Air Force Academy and a Master’s from Creighton University.  From USAF Second Lieutenant to Colonel, he was an Intelligence officer, flew  B-52s during the Cold War, and war-gamed strategic missions at Strategic Air Command Headquarters.

At the Pentagon, he developed decision-making options for the Air Force Chief of Staff for meetings with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and Secretary of Defense. At Headquarters US Southern Command, he advised the Commander-in-Chief on strategy, policy, and operations, and briefed Senators, Congressmen, and national press, during the conflict with Noriega.
At the Pentagon, in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations, he wrote national security strategy, policy and decision-making guidance and Congressional testimony questions, answers, and press guidance for Secretaries of Defense Weinberger and Cheney, speeches for  the Secretaries of Defense and talking points for President Reagan. At  the State Department, he did similar work for Secretary of State Baker, and carried the Central American Peace Plan to leaders there.
John developed international business for a major defense contractor, mediated conflicts at Anne Arundel Medical Center, built and led their Spanish interpretation program. John and his wife are active members of the Saint Vincent de Paul Society, helping Annapolis’s poor  with food, utilities, evictions, Thanksgiving and Christmas meals and Christmas gifts for children.  He helped write St Mary’s Parish’s strategic plan and a served three terms as a Ward One Residents’ Association board member. He is fluent in Spanish and French.
John is guest columnist for the Capital, and was an editorial board member. He and his wife Kitty live on the Annapolis Neck. John is a registered Republican.
John W. Van de Kamp

The Staff

Gina Scerbo, who joined the staff as the commission secretary in August, 2007, has over 20 years of secretarial experience. Ms. Scerbo is a native of South County and resides in Dunkirk with her husband and two daughters.


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