Only One Frederick County Ethics Bill Will Be Submitted To The 2018 General Assembly

It will cover applicants, their agents and running for office.


Frederick, Md (KM). There will be no competing Frederick County ethics bills submitted to the 2018 Maryland General Assembly. County Executive Jan Gardner says bills she and State Senator Michael Hough have drafted will be merged into one.

During her public information briefing on Thursday, Gardner said the legislation will expand the description of agents working for an applicant who has a land use case before the County Council of the Planning Commission. They include lawyers, landscape architects, engineers and traffic consultants. “So those identified individuals as well the applicant, during the pendency of their application before the County Council and the County government, the Planning Commission, will be prohibited from providing campaign contributions to decision makers, the elected officials,” she says.

In addition, this bill, if passed, would require members of the Planning Commission, Board of Appeals, Ethics Commission and the Liquor Board, to resign from their respective boards within 48-hours after opening a campaign account.

But the legislation has no provisions about “instant reporting” of campaign contributions of $500 or more. “Both the State Election Board and the local Election Board really didn’t want to set up a separate reporting system for Frederick County. So that has been removed from the bill,” says Gardner.

Two ethics bills covering Frederick County were introduced last year by the County Executive and Senator Hough. Neither one passed.

Gardner says she’s proud of  Frederick County strong ethics provisions compared to other jurisdictions, and it’s the only county in the state which uses an independent, non-political process for selecting members of the Ethics Commission. “We’re really leading the way to ensure that our citizens can trust the decisions that their elected officials are making and they know what is happening in county government,” she says.

The delegation to Annapolis will hold a public hearing on the County’s 2018 Legislative Package on Saturday, December 2nd, at Winchester Hall, 12 East Church Street in Frederick, beginning at 2:00 PM.


By Kevin McManus