Ethics probe called 'drawn-out thing'

December 17, 1992|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Staff Writer

The Carroll County Ethics Commission is continuing its investigation into a possible conflict of interest, in which the county accepted $500 from the local homebuilders' group to help pay the expenses of a county inspector at an out-of-state convention, the commission chairman said yesterday.

"It's a long, drawn-out thing," said Chairman Thomas W. Lewis of Westminster.

The commission met behind closed doors for about two hours at the County Office Building yesterday. The three members and Assistant County Attorney George A. Lahey discussed other matters in addition to the homebuilders' case, member Philip Wampler of Westminster said.

Robert A. "Max" Bair talked with the commission for about 20 minutes, but Mr. Wampler said it was on a matter unrelated to the homebuilders' case.

In August, the county commissioners voted to accept $500 from the Carroll County chapter of the Home Builders Association of Maryland to help pay for Ralph E. Green, chief of the Bureau of Permits and Inspections, to attend a national convention in St. Paul, Minn., in September.

County records show the trip cost $1,352. The county paid $852.

Mr. Green, the only Carroll representative at the convention, voted on proposed changes to the national building code. He voted against making residential stairs lower and wider than now required.

The Home Builders Association opposed the change because it would increase construction costs and require the redesign of house plans. The proposal was defeated.

Last month, the Ethics Commission requested written responses from Mr. Bair, Mr. Green and the homebuilders about the matter. Mr. Lewis said yesterday the commission will discuss the issue at its meeting next month.

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