Ethics bill approved for employees

October 16, 1994|By Phyllis Brill | Phyllis Brill,Sun Staff Writer

The County Council Tuesday unanimously approved the ethics bill for county employees, volunteer board members and lobbyists that outgoing President Jeffrey D. Wilson had created as his "legacy" to county government.

Significant compromises on the 38-page bill, which was approved with 32 amendments attached, had been worked out in an earlier meeting between Mr. Wilson and County Executive Eileen M. Rehrmann.

"Gratification can't be expressed too often," the council president said in voting for the bill. "This bill is very near and dear to my heart. I hope it will provide a posting of the political highway that will assist those who travel it for years to come."

Philip J. Barker, D-District F, who had introduced 20 amendments to the measure in the weeks before the vote, agreed to withdraw them after learning of the Wilson-Rehrmann agreement.

"I respect that compromise," he said. "I do believe, though, that my amendments did play a part in the process."

The bill will strictly define ethical standards and financial disclosure requirements for county employees, elected officials, volunteer members of advisory boards and lobbyists.

It increases the number of individuals subject to financial disclosure, expands the circle of family who could be sources of improper influence, sets a maximum value on gifts employees may accept and increases the types of situations in which conflicts of interest can exist.

In other business Tuesday, the council:

* Approved a bill authorizing the county to borrow up to $530,000 from the Maryland Energy Administration for energy-saving devices at three schools in Edgewood.

The seven-year loan, from the state's Community Energy Loan Program, will carry a 2.75 percent interest rate.

Roger C. Niles, an assistant superintendent for Harford County schools, told the council that $232,500 of the money will be used to replace the boiler at Edgewood High School and $297,500 will go toward new fluorescent lighting at Edgewood High, Edgewood Middle and Deerfield Elementary schools.

* Approved a change in the county's master water and sewer plan that will allow the first phase of the proposed Forest Greens subdivision to be moved into the priority category for county water and sewer service.

The change will affect four of 36 acres of the proposed subdivision. The remaining acreage, Phase 2 of the development, would remain scheduled for water and sewers within six to 10 years.

Fourteen single-family homes will be built in the first phase and another 23 in Phase 2. The 36-acre property is on Mitchell Drive in Perryman.

* Approved a $100,000 transfer of appropriation of unanticipated revenues from the county's Grants Fund to support the operations of the sheriff's office. The money would include $50,000 from local forfeited property and $50,000 from federal forfeited property.

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