Washington County’s “Independent” Ethics Commission

Washington County’s Board of County Commissioners is responsible for appointing members to the County’s Ethics Commission.

The Board’s duties, according to the County’s website: To certify to the State Ethics Commission compliance with specified provisions of law; hear complaints filed by any person alleging violations of the Ethics Ordinance and make appropriate determinations.

The County Attorney advises the Commission.

County citizens can apply online through the County’s website to volunteer for a Board, Commission or Committee.

The County’s website lists the criteria County residents must meet to serve on a Board: 1) You must be a registered voter and 2) You must live in Washington County. There are “certain expectations for the Economic Development Commission and PenMar Development Corporation”

County Boards, Commissions and Committees are often filled with personal friends, business associates, family friends of the five all-male Republican county commissioners.

The County’s Ethics Commission is currently comprised of four caucasian white males – two Republicans and two Democrats. The four men who serve on the Ethics Commission are age fifty and older.

Members of the County’s Ethics Commission can (and do) hear complaints against the same county commissioners who appointed them to their term on the Commission.

According to the County’s minutes from October 20, 2015, Commissioner LeRoy Myers, seconded by Commissioner John Barr, moved to reappoint the current members of the Ethics Commission – Allen Swope; Brian Kane, John Louderback, J. Emmett Burke and Walter Bell (who resigned earlier this year) – for the terms as presented.

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