In the last few weeks, there have been more than a dozen ethics complaints have been filed against County Executive Alan J. McCarthy, focusing on his proven violation of the county charter laws that pertain to outside business/income. One of the accusers, whose identity shall remain anonymous, shared a copy of his personal complaint with Cecil County News, as well as the reply that it was disregarded.
As we previously reported, Alan McCarthy runs a real estate business on the side of his political career. The county charter, article 4 section 405 (b) states that the Executive shall devote full time to the duties of the office and may not participate in any private occupation for compensation.
Renting out houses certainly qualifies as a private occupation for compensation, doesn’t it? Even if you ignore the more damning elements such as fraudulently suing former business partners to recoup losses under an LLC you created specifically to mask your identity, it still is pretty cut and dry.
More than a few attempts have been made to bring this issue to public attention. Councilman Bill Coutz was handed evidence at the County Fair and refused to pass it to the rest of the Council. The Ethics Commission dismissed every single complaint made by county residents as not their jurisdiction.
But if it’s not the County Ethics Commission’s job to handle violations of county laws by county officials, then why do we have these laws if there is no one to enforce them? Why are the same people pounding Jackie Gregory over her day job as a substitute teacher, ostensibly on the same grounds, but giving a pass to another official?
Remember: All seats on the Ethics Commission are filled by the Executive.
Impartiality seems to be difficult for them.
What is perhaps the most insidious part of this whole thing is that not only did the County Ethics commission ignore the dozen complaints against Executive McCarthy, they also provided copies of the complaints to him containing the names and information of the people who issued them, effectively marking them with a bullseye for retaliation.
This itself is a violation of the County Code as it pertains to confidentiality. Cecil County Code Chapter 39 section 10 (H) states: “After a complaint is filed and until a final finding of a violation by the Commission, all actions regarding a complaint are confidential. Notwithstanding any other provision of the law to the contrary, upon the filing of a complaint, and unless and until a finding of violation has been made, the proceedings, meetings, and activities of the Commission and its employees in connection with the complaint shall be conducted in a confidential manner. The Commission, its staff, counsel, the complainant and the respondent shall not disclose any information relating to the complaint, including the identity of the complainant and the respondent, except that the Commission may release any information at any time if the respondent has, in writing, agreed to said release.”
The commission cannot argue that it had any validity to leak the information to the accused person when it never even began to investigate when they rightly should have.
The double standard is glaring. The self-perceived ruling class has their own set of rules to abide by, meanwhile anyone who isn’t part of the club gets scrutinized for anything that could be interpreted as a violation of the most obscure rule.