Panel Nominees Sail Through Hearings

January 26, 1992|By James M. Coram | James M. Coram,Staff writer

If last week's public hearing is any indication, the administration's latest nominees for the Ethics and Human Rights commissions -- unlike their predecessors -- will be confirmed by the County Council.

Mary Lorette Lowe is County Executive Charles I. Ecker's second nominee for the human rights panel vacancy. Pierre G. Kieffer is Ecker's third nominee for the ethics opening. Both moved swiftly through theirconfirmation hearings Tuesday.

The council found Ecker's first ethics nominee so unpalatable that it changed the legal criteria governing such appointments.

UntilEcker, a Republican, nominated GOP Central Committee member Allan H.Kittleman to the commission, the only requirement for Ethics Commission membership was county residence.

Now, lobbyists, employees of political parties, candidates, elected officials and party central committee members are prohibited from serving.

Republicans vehemently objected, saying the rejection of Kittleman and the changing of thelaw were politically motivated.

Kittleman, 30, is the son of House of Delegates Minority Whip Robert Kittleman, R-14B. The vote against his confirmation and the vote to change the law were both 3-2, along party lines.

Ecker's next ethics nominee was attorney Trent Kittleman, wife of Robert Kittleman and stepmother of Allan Kittleman. Although able to pass legal muster under the new law, council Democratssaid a politician's spouse should be disqualified from serving on the Ethics Commission. They did not amend the law to that effect, however.

Kieffer is free from such entanglements. He told the council Tuesday that during his 16 years as a county resident dealing with businesses, he "has gotten a feeling for what is ethical and what is notethical."

The Rev. Dana Walter Collett, Ecker's earlier nominee for the Human Rights Commission, also was rejected along party lines. This time it was but religion that concerned council Democrats.

They worried that Collett's support of a state law making the practice of homosexuality illegal would conflict with his enforcement of a county law banning discrimination on the basis of sexual preference.

No one on the council asked Lowe about her views on homosexuality. For the record, she believes that no one should be discriminated against on the basis of sexual preference.

When asked why she wished to serve on the Human Rights Commission, Lowe told the council she has "a strong desire to reduce discriminatory practices," both as a Chinese-American and as an assistant professor of physics -- "a field traditionally dominated by men." She also said that as a new mother, she is concerned about child-care issues.

The council will vote on the nominations Feb. 3.

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