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By Marta H. Mossburg | April 12, 2011
It's time to rewrite the ethics laws of Baltimore City to reflect reality. Grandiose language about trust, euphemisms like "public servants" and philosophical musings about justice are so outdated. As a refresher, here's a sample of the code: "The Mayor and City Council of Baltimore recognizes [sic] that our system of representative government largely depends on the people's trust in their public servants. "The citizens of Baltimore City rely on their public servants to preserve their safety, health and welfare through fair and impartial enforcement of laws, imposition of taxes, and expenditure of public funds.
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NEWS
By Liz Bowie, The Baltimore Sun | June 12, 2014
The Baltimore County school board ethics panel has ruled that Superintendent Dallas Dance violated rules when he took a consulting job with a professional development company that does business with the school system. School board President Lawrence Schmidt said Thursday that in light of the ruling, the board and Dance have agreed that he will not take any other consulting jobs as long as he works for the school system. Dance also said in a statement that he would be more careful to avoid conflicts.
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NEWS
By Liz Bowie, The Baltimore Sun | June 12, 2014
The Baltimore County school board ethics panel has ruled that Superintendent Dallas Dance violated rules when he took a consulting job with a professional development company that does business with the school system. School board President Lawrence Schmidt said Thursday that in light of the ruling, the board and Dance have agreed that he will not take any other consulting jobs as long as he works for the school system. Dance also said in a statement that he would be more careful to avoid conflicts.
NEWS
By Luke Broadwater, The Baltimore Sun | April 23, 2014
The drama over Baltimore's dysfunctional phone system began its next act Wednesday, with the city authorizing a private attorney to defend Comptroller Joan M. Pratt amid an ethics investigation — and Pratt leveling more accusations that the Rawlings-Blake administration is wasting taxpayer dollars through inaction. The Board of Estimates approved $2,000 for Pratt to hire an attorney as the city's ethics board investigates whether she should have accepted free legal work from Orioles owner Peter G. Angelos' law firm in 2012, when she sued the administration alleging illegal practices.
NEWS
By Luke Broadwater, The Baltimore Sun | September 24, 2012
Two city watchdog officials are proposing legislation to close "gaps" in Baltimore's ethics code after learning of attempts to take advantage of loopholes. One provision would prohibit City Council members from accepting gifts from anyone who has lobbied the city in the previous 12 months, even if the lobbyist is no longer registered. Another is designed to make sure that a business in which a city employee has an interest does not do work for the employee's agency. "In recent months, the Office of Inspector General and the Ethics Board have each discovered attempts by others to take undue advantage of certain gaps in the Ethics Code," City Inspector General David McClintock and ethics board director Avery Aisenstark wrote in a letter to Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young.
NEWS
BY A SUN STAFF WRITER | July 2, 2003
The Carroll County commissioners approved a new ethics code yesterday that will give the county a six-member ethics commission and a more detailed blueprint for investigating suspected ethics violations. The policy was produced by a task force appointed in March. The Carroll commissioners called for changes in the code after disbanding the previous ethics panel, which they accused of conducting political "witch hunts" against several people, including Commissioner Julia Walsh Gouge. The commissioners approved the new ethics policy, to go into effect this week, one day after State Prosecutor Stephen Montanarelli released his report on ethics allegations against Gouge, clearing the commissioner of criminal wrongdoing.
NEWS
November 18, 1994
Baltimore City officials finally seem to be getting serious about tightening their limp code of ethics. It's about time. Whenever some clearly unacceptable behavior comes to light, a cry arises in City Hall to bolster the code of acceptable behavior with another toothpick. Nothing less than a wholesale overhaul of the code is needed. The city's Board of Ethics has started work on a new Code of Conduct and plans to revise the toothless ethics law. City officials are at least paying lip service to the need for change.
NEWS
By Phyllis Brill and Phyllis Brill,Sun Staff Writer | August 7, 1994
Harford County Council President Jeffrey Wilson says he will introduce an ordinance Tuesday to tighten and strictly define ethical standards and financial disclosure requirements for county employees.Mr. Wilson said he regards the proposal as his "legacy" to the county government after 4 1/2 years on the council. He is not seeking re-election this year.Introducing the bill this week, at the council's only August session, would allow it to be passed before the November election and, thus, before a new council president is elected, he said.
NEWS
By Ellen Gamerman and Ellen Gamerman,Sun Staff Writer | April 10, 1995
The Annapolis city council will consider tonight whether to impose a new ethics code to minimize conflicts of interest in local government.The measure, proposed by Ward 5 Democratic Alderman Carl O. Snowden, would bar the mayor, aldermen and other city officials from voting on any city matters in which they might have a personal interest."
NEWS
By Childs Walker and Childs Walker,SUN STAFF | July 2, 2003
The Carroll County commissioners approved yesterday a new ethics code that will give the county a six-member ethics commission and a more detailed blueprint for investigating suspected ethics violations. The commissioners took a few minutes to endorse the code, produced by a task force they appointed in March to revamp the county's ethics enforcement policies. The commissioners said they will appoint a new ethics commission as soon as next week. The ethics panel will probably include at least a few members from the task force that wrote the code, the commissioners said.
NEWS
By Liz Bowie, The Baltimore Sun | January 4, 2014
When a top Baltimore City school official was asked by a company to help train administrators, she sought advice from the city ethics panel and was told to donate her earnings to the school system. Sonja Santelises, the chief academic officer for the city schools until August, said last week that she worked for SUPES Academy for two days in New Jersey in the summer of 2012, using vacation days and donating her $4,000 after taxes and travel expenses to city schools. SUPES Academy also sought the expertise of Baltimore County School Superintendent Dallas Dance, who trained 10 principals this fall in Chicago.
NEWS
By Yvonne Wenger, The Baltimore Sun | June 17, 2013
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Comptroller Joan M. Pratt spent the better part of last year in heated political disputes, but by Christmastime, the two city leaders exchanged gifts. They just can't agree on what was exchanged. The mayor reported on her 2012 ethics filings that Pratt gave her a $50 gift card. Pratt says it was an umbrella. "Christmas is the season to be jolly," Pratt told the Baltimore Sun Friday. "I live to give. We are one city. " Rawlings-Blake reported gifts from across the globe: a book from the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, a box of avocados from the Mexican ambassador to the United States and a "Divine Servant" sculpture from Somebody Cares Baltimore.
NEWS
By Luke Broadwater, The Baltimore Sun | February 28, 2013
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake says she will neither sign nor veto legislation to loosen conflict-of-interest restrictions that have sometimes prevented City Council members from voting on bills. The legislation - sought by Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young - has been approved by the council, and it is expected to become law without the mayor's signature. The bill, sponsored by Young, would lift some ethics restrictions to allow him to vote on matters involving city agencies where his family members work.
NEWS
By Luke Broadwater, The Baltimore Sun | October 17, 2012
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said Wednesday that Comptroller Joan M. Pratt's use of free legal services from Orioles owner Peter G. Angelos' law firm represents a breach of the city ethics code — an accusation vehemently rejected by Pratt. The Angelos firm is handling without charge Pratt's lawsuit against the administration's efforts to install a new city phone system that Pratt says illegally circumvented the competitive bidding process and wasted taxpayer dollars. Addressing reporters after Wednesday's Board of Estimates meeting, the mayor contended that Pratt's acceptance of the free legal help violates the ethics code, which generally prohibits elected officials from taking gifts from people who do business with their agency.
NEWS
By Luke Broadwater, The Baltimore Sun | September 24, 2012
Two city watchdog officials are proposing legislation to close "gaps" in Baltimore's ethics code after learning of attempts to take advantage of loopholes. One provision would prohibit City Council members from accepting gifts from anyone who has lobbied the city in the previous 12 months, even if the lobbyist is no longer registered. Another is designed to make sure that a business in which a city employee has an interest does not do work for the employee's agency. "In recent months, the Office of Inspector General and the Ethics Board have each discovered attempts by others to take undue advantage of certain gaps in the Ethics Code," City Inspector General David McClintock and ethics board director Avery Aisenstark wrote in a letter to Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young.
ENTERTAINMENT
By David Zurawik and The Baltimore Sun | October 21, 2011
Public radio host Lisa Simeone Thursday confirmed a report published here and elsewhere that she was fired Wednesday by the public radio series "Soundprint. " The firing came as a result of what "Soundprint' executives saw an an ethical violation by Simeone for her work as a spokeswoman with October 2011, one of the groups involved in the Occupy D.C. movement. But Simeone also found support Thursday from another employer, North Carolina classical station WDAV, producer of the "World of Opera" show for which the Baltimore broadcaster serves as a freelance host.
NEWS
By JACK GERMOND & JULES WITCOVER | December 10, 1992
WASHINGTON -- Bill Clinton's tough new ethics code is welcome recognition that too many ranking government officials have been trading on their public service to enrich themselves in private life. But it won't repeal the fundamental laws of politics.The Clinton code prohibits 1,100 appointees from lobbying their former agencies for five years and from lobbying for foreign governments at any time. That should put a damper on those ex-officials profiting from retainers of $500,000 a year or more from big interests, domestic or foreign, from the day they leave the government.
NEWS
By Marta H. Mossburg | April 12, 2011
It's time to rewrite the ethics laws of Baltimore City to reflect reality. Grandiose language about trust, euphemisms like "public servants" and philosophical musings about justice are so outdated. As a refresher, here's a sample of the code: "The Mayor and City Council of Baltimore recognizes [sic] that our system of representative government largely depends on the people's trust in their public servants. "The citizens of Baltimore City rely on their public servants to preserve their safety, health and welfare through fair and impartial enforcement of laws, imposition of taxes, and expenditure of public funds.
NEWS
March 16, 2011
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has exercised all due caution by selectively abstaining from votes on city contracts with Johns Hopkins Health System, where her husband, Kent Blake, has been employed since December. City ethics rules generally bar officials from participating in matters involving a close relative who might benefit financially, and Ms. Rawlings-Blake has voted on a dozen contracts involving the sprawling entity that is Johns Hopkins, but none of them directly involve the branch of health the system her husband works for. Given Mr. Blake's relatively minor role at Hopkins, that standard is more than sufficient to assure the public that the mayor has acted properly.
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