County Council Approves Three For Ethics Commission

The panel also approved a clean energy loan program for businesses.

Frederick, Md. (KM) In a unanimous vote on Tuesday, the Frederick County Council approved three individuals to serve on the Ethics Commission. But this process was a little different compared to the past.

The League of Women Voters set up a nominating committee to review all interested applicants, and make recommendations to the County Executive who would forward them to the Council. “We had seven good applicants for the three positions. We did expand out advertising, or recruitment,  for the commission,” said nominating committee chair Mary Ellen Rhoderick, who spoke to the Council on Tuesday.

Rhoderick said the committee not only put an ad in the Frederick News-Post, but also reached out to the Rotary Clubs, the colleges, the Frederick County Ministerial Association, and the Business and Professional Women’s group, and other organizations.

She said all applicants sent their letters of interest and resumes to the County Attorney’s Office which forwarded them to the nominating committee.  The County Executive, the Council and other elected officials didn’t know the interested applicants’  names until three were recommended for appointment to the Ethics Commission.

She says the nominating commission also interviewed the seven candidates. One withdrew his name from consideration because the job on the Ethics Commission “wasn’t his cup of tea,” she said. In addition, another was disqualified because he was associated with local Democratic Party organizations.

In the end, the nominating commission recommended Alan Shapiro, Deborah Lundahl and Shane Caufield.

“Everybody on the nominating committee would say that they thought the process worked very well, and that it was fair and equitable,” said Rhoderick.

Earlier in the day, County Executive Jan Gardner said the process in Frederick County for selecting Ethics Commission members is the only one in the state which is independent of any political influences.

In other action, the Council approved a clean energy loan program for businesses. Companies which want to retrofit their facilities or install energy-saving devices, such as solar, wind or geothermal, would be eligible for loans. The loans would be repaid through a surcharge on their tax bills. In introducing the program, County Executive Gardner said no taxpayer money would be lent to area businesses for clean energy project.

Also, the Council approved Jeremy Kortright as the new director of the Division of Parks and Recreation. He had been serving as acting director since Paul Dial left to become the County’s Chief Administrative Officer in June.

By Kevin McManus