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Washington Co. commissioner sees no conflict in Little League grant

August 06, 2008|By JOSHUA BOWMAN

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- Washington County Commissioner James F. Kercheval said Tuesday he did not consider it a conflict of interest to introduce and vote for a resolution to give $10,000 to a local Little League organization for which two of his sons play.

The money, which was awarded July 29 by the County Commissioners, was to help pay travel expenses for the league's 11-12 All Stars team that recently won the Maryland state title and is playing in the Mid-Atlantic Regional Tournament.

Kercheval's sons, ages 6 and 9, play for Federal Little League teams but do not play for the 11-12 All Stars team.

Kercheval said Tuesday he did not think his sons' participation in the league created a conflict of interest.

"It never even crossed my mind, to be honest," Kercheval said.

Kercheval introduced the request, which he said was made to him by the team's manager, Bill Abeles, to the commissioners. He did not mention during the commissioners' discussion that his sons play for the league.

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After the discussion, Kercheval, Commissioners President John F. Barr and Commissioners Vice President Terry L. Baker voted to award the money, which will come from the county's hotel-motel tax. Commissioner William J. Wivell voted against the motion. Commissioner Kristin B. Aleshire was out of the room for the vote.

Because the motion passed on a 3-1 vote, it would have passed even if Kercheval had abstained.

Washington County's Ethics Ordinance states that county commissioners are prohibited from taking part in action that would directly benefit them or their family members.

"Washington County officials and employees who are subject to this Ordinance shall not: Participate on behalf of the County in any matter which would, to their knowledge, have a direct financial impact, as distinguished from the public generally, on them, their spouse or dependent child, or a business entity with which they are affiliated," the ordinance states.

Kercheval said Tuesday he did not consider it a problem to introduce and vote on the matter because his children do not play for the team the money is for and he does not work for the team in any capacity.

The motion, made by Baker, was to give $10,000 of hotel-motel tax revenue to Federal Little League. It did not specify that the money would go only to the 11-12 All Stars.

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