A constituent of Carroll County Commissioner District 3 has filed an ethics complaint with the Carroll County Ethics Commission requesting their review of the inherent conflict between the employment of Commissioner-Elect Dennis Frazier and his responsibilities as County Commissioner. Frazier is a full time teacher and union member in the Carroll County public school system.
In the letter of complaint, Westminster resident Carmen Amedori cites the State Ethics Code section 15-502 which every county must follow. This section states that an official “may not be employed or have a financial interest in an entity subject to the authority of the official …”
“It is obvious that there is a violation of the ethics code when a County Commissioner serving in his executive function creates the budget of the Carroll County Public Schools and by his funding decisions provides oversight of the teacher salary scales and benefits while at the same time being employed by the school system as a teacher and receiving such salary and benefits,” Amedori said.
Further, Amedori requested that the Ethics Commission adhere to the precedence established by their letter dated March 7, 2008, to former County Commissioner Michael D. Zimmer, who at that time had served as a substitute teacher for Carroll County Public Schools. In that decision, the Ethics Commission ruled that Zimmer should “not hold dual employment as a County Commissioner and any position funded by county government.”
“The ethics code is to protect Carroll County taxpayers from self-interest and bias in the decisions of local officials,” Amedori explained. “In light of this Commission’s prior determination, Commissioner-Elect Frazier should be mandated to either terminate his salaried position with the Carroll County Board of Education prior to being sworn in as a Commissioner or resign as a Carroll County Commissioner to protect the integrity of the incoming Board of Commissioners,” Amedori explained.
Frazier has not responded to numerous requests for comment on whether he will give up tenure, benefits and salary as a teacher for a 60% pay cut to hold elected office for four years.