Ethics panel finds conflict with Dixon's city, state jobs

May 10, 2000|By Rafael Alvarez | Rafael Alvarez,SUN STAFF

An ethics panel ruled yesterday that it was a conflict of interest for Baltimore City Council President Sheila Dixon to hold her elective position and state job at the same time.

Dixon, who could not be reached for comment last night, had sought a ruling on the matter after her election as council president last year.

In its decision, the Maryland State Ethics Commission said: "The city and its citizens have substantial and significant interactions with [the state economic development office and Dixon's] dual employment would be inconsistent with prohibitions [in] the public ethics law."

At the time of her election, Dixon had worked for the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development for nearly 14 years and was making $56,000 a year as a senior trade representative. She took a 50 percent cut in pay Dec. 9 when she moved to part-time status.

In her job with the development agency, Dixon worked with 20 to 30 companies as clients, about 20 percent of which were in Baltimore. Connections between the city and the state, economic and otherwise, the commission noted, are myriad.

"It would thus be anticipated that [Dixon] would have a role in a variety of fiscal and spending decisions of the city that would relate to economic development in matters in which the city would be collaborating with the state," the commission said.

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