(A)   There is hereby established an Ethics Commission consisting of six members appointed by the County Commissioners. Initial appointments for members will be staggered. Two members will be appointed for a term of one year, two members will be appointed for a term of two years, and three members will be appointed for a term of three years. Thereafter, all appointments will be for a term of three years. No member will serve more than two consecutive terms.
   (B)   An Ethics Commission member may serve until a successor is appointed and qualifies.
   (C)   The County Commissioners will select from the membership of the Ethics Commission an Ethics Administrator, who will serve for a term of three years from the date appointed.
   (D)   The Ethics Administrator will conduct the routine business of the Ethics Commission and maintain all files and records of the Ethics Commission. The Ethics Administrator will issue advisory opinions, conduct inquiries, investigations, and hearings, and present findings to the Ethics Commission. The Ethics Administrator is a nonvoting member of the Ethics Commission.
   (E)   Members of the Ethics Commission will possess the following qualifications:
      (1)   All members will be residents of the county;
      (2)   No member will hold or be a candidate for office of the United States government, state government, a political subdivision, or municipality;
      (3)   No member will be an employee of the county government or have a family member as an employee of the county government;
      (4)   No member will be an employee of any political party; and
      (5)   No member will be a registered lobbyist for any organization in this state that may create a conflict of interest.
   (F)   The County Commissioners will seek recommendations for members of the Ethics Commission who are believed to be impartial, fair, and reasonable, from the community at large prior to the appointment of Ethics Commission members.
   (G)   The County Commissioners may remove members of the Ethics Commission for cause, including, but not limited to, conflicts of interest or if they become disqualified.
   (H)   Members will not be entitled to compensation but are entitled to reimbursement of reasonable expenses. The Ethics Administrator may receive a stipend as determined by the County Commissioners.
   (I)   A quorum of the Ethics Commission must be present to conduct business. A quorum will consist of a simple majority.
   (J)   Attendance at Ethics Commission meetings will be limited to Ethics Commission members, legal counsel, and administrative staff designated by the Ethics Commission to take minutes. Other persons with official business before the Ethics Commission may also be in attendance only as permitted by the Ethics Commission.
   (K)   The County Attorney will advise the Ethics Commission. In the event that the County Attorney is unable to provide legal advice due to a conflict or a perceived conflict, the Ethics Commission may request outside counsel through the County Attorney in accordance with the Code of Public Local Laws § 3-303.
(2004 Code, § 18-4) (Ord. 03-14, passed 7-1-2003; Ord. 2010-10, passed 6-17-2010; Ord. 2018-02, passed 3-13-2018; Ord. 2021-03, passed 3-11-2021)