Cline appears again before County Ethics Commission; Swope absent

Washington County Commissioner Jeffrey A. Cline appeared yesterday, November 27, before the County’s commissioner-appointed Ethics Commission for the second time in nearly two weeks.

One notable member of the ethics panel, Allen Swope, was absent from Cline’s hearing yesterday, leaving only three Commission members to hear from Cline and/or his attorney, Ira Cooke.

Swope, 80, has close ties to Commissioners President Terry Baker. The retired Maryland State trooper did not offer any information about his absence.

The Board of County Commissioners has accused Cline of releasing “personnel and confidential and inaccurate information to individuals outside of County government” and sharing “personnel and confidential and inaccurate information with various County government employees.”

Cline initially met with the County’s Ethics Commission on Wednesday, Nov. 15 and was unaccompanied by Cooke. He told Herald-Mail Media that he spent only five minutes before the body but did not wish to provide further details.

The five-member ethics panel currently has one vacancy after Walter Bell, a prominent local Republican, resigned earlier this year.

The ethics panel members include Brian Kane, J. Emmet Burke, John Louderback and Allen E. Swope.

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