Rockville's city council last night voted to send a letter to District 17 legislators in the Maryland General Assembly, notifying them that the city supports the current ethics standards demanded of all elected officials in the state. Legislation that would alter the ethics reporting requirements is on the table in Annapolis.
Councilmember Tom Moore, who has been a strong advocate of the tightened reporting standards adopted a few years ago, warned his colleagues to oppose any efforts to weaken the existing requirements. Mayor Bridget Newton said she believes some of the information demanded is beyond what is necessary or appropriate. Moore said every piece of property owned by a public official, regardless of how it was obtained or its geographic location, should be known to the public.
A majority of the council agreed with Moore's support for the current law, voting 3-2 to send a letter backing today's standards to Annapolis. Voting in favor were councilmembers Moore, Julie Palakovich Carr and Beryl Feinberg. Opposed were Newton and Councilmember Virginia Onley.
Some municipalities have opposed the recent standards, citing privacy concerns and a reduction in those willing to run for office and make such extensive disclosures. Others, such as Moore, have said having the full story on what a politician owns is essential knowledge for voters, in order to reveal any and all conflicts of interest.