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Panel rule city's code of ethics wasn't violated

June 10, 2006|by TAMELA BAKER

HAGERSTOWN

Neither city Administrator Bruce Zimmerman nor Councilwoman Alesia D. Parson-McBean violated the city's code of ethics by aiding a community discussion group they founded, according to Washington County Ethics Commission Chairman Dana Moylan.

An official opinion should be filed within a week, Moylan said.

The commission on Friday considered ethics complaints filed against Zimmerman and Parson-McBean by former mayoral candidate Anthony Campello. Campello charged that Zimmerman should not have released $367.21 in city money to help the Building Community group purchase supplies and refreshments, and that Zimmerman and Parson-McBean improperly used their city positions to help the group, of which they are founding members.

The group later repaid the money.

Among the charges in Campello's complaint was that Parson-McBean had directed city staff to "identify leaders in the city" to participate in Building Community, which had been meeting quietly since September to discuss racial and diversity issues in the city. Parson-McBean had denied during a city council meeting last month that Building Community was a city effort or that she had directed city employees to help.

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Reached by phone Friday, Campello said he was satisfied with the ethics commission's findings.

"I think that's fine," Campello said. "The only reason I filed the grievances was the fact that there was so much arguing and dissension, and nobody seemed to want to resolve it."

Earlier this year, Councilwoman Kelly S. Cromer had questioned the city's affiliation with the group, and Councilwoman Penny M. Nigh raised questions, too. The group became a topic of discussion at several council meetings.

Campello said that was why he filed the complaints. Among council members, "it was brought up week after week," he said, adding that the group had been a frequent topic on The Herald-Mail's message forums.

Now, Campello said, "the system took its course - that's all I wanted. Actually, I'm very happy about the outcome."

Zimmerman and Parson-McBean were unavailable for comment, and messages left for them had not been returned as of Friday night.

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