Republicans Decry Plan To Alter Criteria For Ethics Panel

September 01, 1991|By James M. Coram | James M. Coram,Staff writer

The three Democrats on the County Council plan to introduce legislation Tuesday that, if enacted, could bar Republican Allan Kittleman from serving on the county ethics commission.

Kittleman, 30, is the son of popular House of Delegates Minority Whip Robert Kittleman, R-14B. He is also a member of the Republican Central Committee.

It is his membership on the GOP committee that concerns the Democrats. The only criteria for serving on the ethics commission is that the nominee be a resident of the county.

The Democrats want to change that by excluding lobbyists, employees of political parties, candidates, elected officials and party central committee members from service on the commission.

Democrats say the bill is not aimed at Kittleman personally but is intended to close a previously undetected loophole in the law. The two council Republicans think otherwise.

"It's as obvious as the nose in front of my face" that the bill was "drafted expressly and aimed at Allan Kittleman," Darrel Drown, R-2, said.

The Democrats "are judging him on a future bill," Charles C. Feaga, R-5th said.

The Democrats had asked for a clarification on Kittleman's eligibility from the ethics commission itself and from the county's legal office. "When they were told he was eligible, theydidn't buy it," Feaga said. "There is usually honor among people that you don't do that sort of thing."

Kittleman's nomination has been on hold since his confirmation hearing four months ago, when council member Shane Pendergrass, D-1st, asked him, "Aren't you an elected official?"

Kittleman replied that he was an elected party official, not an elected public official. Unimpressed by the distinction, Pendergrass said she thought it was inappropriate for an elected official to serve on the county ethics commission and asked the commission to resolve the issue.

The bill is jointly sponsored by Pendergrass,C. Vernon Gray, D-3rd, and Paul R. Farragut, D-4th.

County Executive Charles I. Ecker continues to stand by Kittleman, saying, "I don't think you should change the rules just to keep someone off the commission. I have asked (the council) to vote him up or down based on the rules in effect at the time of his nomination."

With the exception of Planning Board nominees, the council in past years has routinely approved the executive's nominations to citizen commissions.

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