The subject of the Ethics Commission complaint against Commissioner Mary Jo Jablonski occupied the attention of the town board for a second meeting. When the mayor asked for public comments Bob Litzenberg once again asked where the complaint he’d filed 6-weeks ago stood, since town still hadn’t responded to his letter.
That, as it did last time, caused some interesting exchanges that still indicate there’s confusion around how the town is handling this complaint and how they generally should handle such situations. Commissioner Jablonski added that she too hadn’t been contacted for the investigation and didn’t know what the complaint was about. Bob clarified that matter for the puzzled elected official by saying that it was a conflict of interest concerning her role as a town commissioner and as the Director of the Elkton Alliance, a group that receives substantial funding from the town. When she votes on the budget for the Alliance while also serving as the full-time Main Street Manager and Alliance Director, there is a conflict he elaborated.
With the preliminaries out of the way, an exchange with the town attorney got underway. He tried to make the point that the board gives the fire company money so by that reasoning members of the board that are also with the fire company wouldn’t be able to vote on the budget. Bob quickly dismissed that assertion by pointing out that none of the fire company members are paid for their services. When he pointed out that they do it as volunteers, that line of thinking died quickly away. Commissioner Jablosnki added that the town only funds one-third of the Alliances budget, and the conversation continued along these lines with supporting points being made by officals as Bob dismissed them.
This exchange was going no where as officials would provide a justification and Bob would say something like, well they are all volunteers, so they’re not getting paid for doing this. To bring some clarity back to the situation which was sort of stalled on this Wed. evening as a line of thunderstorms neared Elkton, he once again asked where the investigation stood since these exchanges weren’t helping anyone understand anything. Well they’d tried to meet but hadn’t been able to someone from the professional staff side of the room side. But that’s what you said last time, the citizen remarked. He also added that one member of the Ethics Commission told him that he hadn’t been able to get in contact with all the other members of the board. This member said one member of the commission wasn’t returning his call, while he’d talked with the third person about the complaint.
As a thunderstorm neared Elkton and lightning flashed out in the direction of the Chesapeake Bay, this discussion came to a confusing close as it did last time. The citizen finally said we’ll just have to wait and see what the Ethics Commission has to say when it issues its ruling. That was the way Bob wrapped it up for the political leadership, the paid staff, and the attorney since clarity was not going to come out of the meeting on this stormy Cecil County evening.
Since Ethics Commission Complaints in local government are important stories, so we’ll stay on this one until we get it fully pieced together. The Whig was there for both of these meetings too so on such an important small town story we assume they’re working hard on bringing news to their readers and subscribers. There were a number of other worthy items at the meeting this evening too, so we’ll continue moving those over the next several days.