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Washington Co. to replace ethics ordinance with longer, more detailed version

July 12, 2011|By HEATHER KEELS | heather.keels@herald-mail.com

Washington County is preparing to replace its five-page ethics ordinance with a longer, more detailed version suggested by the state.

The change is needed because of state legislation passed in 2010 that changed the requirements for local ethics ordinances, Assistant County Attorney Kirk C. Downey told the Washington County Commissioners Tuesday.

To comply, the county will need to replace its current ordinance with a new one based on a model provided by the State Ethics Commission, Downey said.

Downey's suggested ordinance, based on that model, is 17 pages long and includes more disclosure and filing requirements than the existing ordinance, he said.

The existing ordinance was adopted in 1982. It applies to county elected officials, employees and members of boards and commissions, laying out rules regarding conflicts of interest, financial disclosure and lobbying disclosure. It also established a five-member county ethics commission.

A public hearing will be scheduled on the new ordinance before the commissioners vote on whether to adopt it, Downey said. The deadline to implement the new ordinance is Oct. 1.

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