Ethics Commission names attorney as new director

December 16, 1993|By John Rivera | John Rivera,Staff Writer

The Anne Arundel County Ethics Commission has appointed a former Charles County assistant state's attorney with extensive experience as a consumer affairs advocate as its executive director.

James J. Jones, 47, began work Dec. 9. As executive director, he will oversee the administrative work of the Ethics Commission, assist in investigating complaints and provide general legal counsel.

The Ethics Commission, which was created by charter amendment in the November 1992 election, is charged with revising the county's ethics law, investigating specific complaints against county employees and overseeing county financial disclosure statements.

The commission was chaired until recently by Paul G. Goetzke, who resigned when he was named Annapolis city attorney last month.

Myrna Siegel, a former attorney who had been vice chairwoman, was elected chairwoman at Monday's commission meeting.

Ms. Siegel worked for 10 years, until 1989, as the ethics counsel for the federal Securities and Exchange Commission.

Ms. Siegel said the commission chose Mr. Jones as its executive director because of his experience in state and local government, and his low-key personality.

Mr. Jones served as assistant to the county administrator of Howard County in the late 1980s.

"We believe he is the kind of person who would deal very well with people," Ms. Siegel said.

Mr. Jones, a resident of Waldorf, received his law degree in 1984 from the University of Baltimore School of Law. He holds a master's degree in communications arts and a bachelor's degree in psychology.

His early career includes several positions in consumer affairs, in which he investigated complaints, negotiated the settlement of disputes and represented consumer interests before regulatory agencies and legislative bodies.

Mr. Jones said he expects to draw on all his skills in his new job.

"My investigative background, my administrative background and my legal background seem to come together fairly well in this position," Mr. Jones said.

For the first month or two, while he sets up the office, Mr. Jones will work full time for $26.44 an hour.

After that, the position will become part time, with hours determined by the commission.

And if commission meetings become too intense, Mr. Jones can lighten the mood with a little music.

He is an accomplished singer and guitarist, specializing in old-time music, a genre played by string bands that flourished in the Appalachians in the 1920s and 1930s.

He plays with several bands in the Washington-Baltimore area and has performed on several recordings.

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