Oliver seeks to change Balto. Co. ethics bill

Legislation was viewed as targeting union president, lobbyist

November 10, 2010|By Raven L. Hill, The Baltimore Sun

Baltimore County Councilman Ken Oliver is seeking to amend an ethics bill that some believe targets a well-known lobbyist and the president of the firefighters union.

The current ethics law bars people who have been convicted of certain crimes — bribery, fraud, embezzlement, theft and forgery, among others — from doing business with the county or representing county employees.

Oliver's amendment would require the bill to be "prospective," applying only to those convicted of crimes after Sept. 7.

Retiring Councilman Vince Gardina sponsored the original legislation, which passed in August on a 6-1 vote with Oliver dissenting. Oliver said he believed the bill targeted Michael Day, president of the Baltimore County Professional Fire Fighters Association, and Bruce C. Bereano, who had lobbied against Gardina's efforts to broadly restrict the indoor tanning industry.

Bereano was convicted more than 15 years ago of mail fraud in connection with illegal campaign contributions. Day pleaded guilty in 1995 to misdemeanor charges for participating in a pyramid investment scheme.

Gardina said at the time he did not direct the lobbyist ban at Bereano but acknowledged that the issue came to light because of him and that he learned about Day's conviction after he filed the bill.

The council will consider the Oliver-backed amendment on Monday.

raven.hill@baltsun.com

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