Expedited Bill No.            37-10            

Concerning: Ethics – Ethics Commission – Staff                                                      

Revised:    6/11/10            Draft No.   4  

Introduced:      June 15, 2010                

Enacted:         July 20, 2010                 

Executive:       July 29, 2010                 

Effective:        July 29, 2010                 

Sunset Date:  None                             

Ch.   38    , Laws of Mont. Co.    2010    


County Council

For Montgomery County, Maryland


By: Management and Fiscal Policy Committee



(1)               revise the process to appoint and remove staff for the Ethics Commission;

(2)               require the Commission staff director to be an attorney;

(3)               modify how the Commission may receive legal advice and services;

(4)               exempt staff of the Commission from any collective bargaining unit; and

(5)               generally amend County law related to the Ethics Commission.


By amending

            Montgomery County Code

            Chapter 19A, Ethics

Section 19A-5



Boldface                                             Heading or defined term.

Underlining                                          Added to existing law by original bill.

[Single boldface brackets]                  Deleted from existing law by original bill.

Double underlining                              Added by amendment.

[[Double boldface brackets]]              Deleted from existing law or the bill by amendment.

*   *   *                                                  Existing law unaffected by bill.









The County Council for Montgomery County, Maryland approves the following Act:

            Sec. 1.  Section 19A-5 is amended as follows:

19A-5.        Ethics Commission

            *          *          *

(f)      Administrative Support.

(1)     The Commission must be allocated merit system staff, separate office space, equipment, and supplies within the limits of the Commission's appropriations.  [The Chief Administrative Officer appoints or assigns staff to the Commission after receiving a recommendation from the Commission.  Subject to the general supervision of the Chief Administrative Officer, assigned] Commission staff serve at the Commission’s direction [of the Commission] to perform duties assigned by the Commission.  The Commission must appoint a staff director/chief counsel to perform duties assigned by the Commission, and may remove the staff director/chief counsel.  Subject to the general supervision of the Commission, the staff director/chief counsel must appoint and supervise and may remove other Commission staff.  The appointment, retention, and removal of all Commission staff must be subject to applicable merit system laws and regulations.  The staff director/chief counsel must be an attorney licensed to practice law in Maryland, and may advise and represent the Commission without the approval or supervision of the County Attorney.

(2)     The Commission may ask the County Attorney to provide an opinion on any legal issue relating to the Commission's duties.

(3)     The County Attorney must, on request of the Commission, provide the Commission with legal services.  [However, the County Attorney may employ special legal counsel to the Commission under Section 213 of the Charter.]  The County Attorney must provide an attorney to prosecute a case before the Commission under Section 19A-10 unless the Commission assigns or retains a different attorney or other staff member to perform that function.  An individual attorney in the office of the County Attorney who is assigned to provide general legal advice to the Commission must not be an investigator under Section 19A-9 or prosecute a case before the Commission under Section 19A-10 for one year after the attorney's Ethics Commission assignment ends.

            *          *          *

            Sec. 2.  Section 33-102 is amended as follows:

33-102.       Definitions.

          The following terms have the meaning indicated when used in this [article] Article:

          *        *        *

(4)     Employee means any person who works for the County government, except:

          *        *        *

(G)    an employee who works for:

                                      (i)      the Office of the County Executive;

                                      (ii)     the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer;

                                      (iii)    the County Council;

                                      (iv)    the Office of the County Attorney;

                                      (v)     the Office of Management and Budget;

                                      (vi)    the Office of Intergovernmental Relations;

                                      (vii)   the Office of Human Resources; [or]

                                      (viii)  the Merit System Protection Board; or

                                      (ix)    the Ethics Commission;

          *        *        *

            Sec. 3.  Expedited Effective Date; Transition.

          The Council declares that this legislation is necessary for the immediate protection of the public interest.  This Act takes effect on the date when it becomes law.  The position of Executive Director of the Ethics Commission is abolished by operation of law on the date that the Commission appoints a staff director/chief counsel, as authorized by County Code Section 19A-5(f), as amended by Section 1 of this Act.