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Ethics Policy

All boards of education in Maryland are required by state law to have an ethics policy that establishes standards of conduct for school system employees and board members.  The content of a local board of education’s ethics policy is subject to the approval of the State Ethics Commission.

During the 2010 legislative session, the Maryland General Assembly enacted Senate Bill 315, which charged the State Ethics Commission with the responsibility of reviewing and updating the ethics policies that govern local school boards and municipal corporations. Governor O’Malley signed Senate Bill 315 on May 4, 2010.

In 2012, the State Ethics Commission (“SEC”) adopted new administrative regulations (COMAR 19A.05.01.01-.03) that established guidelines for boards of education.  As a result of the action by the SEC, the Washington County Board of Education conducted a review of its existing ethics policy and adopt a new ethics policy that includes the elements set forth in COMAR 19A.05.01.01-.03.

The Washington County Board of Education’s Policy Committee was charged by the Board of Education with conducting a review of the current ethics policy, administrative regulation, and exhibits, and offering recommendations to update these documents.  At the November 1, 2011 Board of Education meeting, the Policy Committee requested the Board of Education to take the following action:

  • Approve the first reading of revised Policy BBFE—Ethics;
  • Approve the rescission of current Administrative Regulation BBFE-R—Ethics Regulations;
  • Approve the rescission of current Exhibit BBFE-E(1)—Code of Ethics for School Board Members;
  • Approve the rescission of current Exhibit BBFE-E(2)—Code of Ethics, American Association of School Administrator’s Statement of Ethics for Educational Leaders
  • Approve the first reading of proposed Administrative Regulation BBFE-R—Ethics Regulations;
  • Approve the first reading of proposed Exhibit BBFE-E(1)—Ethics Complaint Reporting Form(formerly labeled as Exhibit BBFE-E(3));
  • Approve the first reading of proposed Exhibit BBFE-E(2)—Lobbying Registration Form and Lobbying Activity Report (formerly labeled as Exhibit BBFE-E(4));
  • Approve the first reading of proposed Exhibit BBFE-E(3)—Financial Disclosure Form A; and
  • Approve the first reading of proposed Exhibit BBFE-E(4)—Financial Disclosure Form B;

After the period for public comment had elapsed, the Board of Education took official action at its public business meeting on February 7, 2012, to update its ethics policy, administrative regulation, and exhibits. 

In accordance with Maryland law, the Board of Education’s approved policy, administrative regulation, and exhibits were submitted to the SEC for that public body’s review and final approval.  The SEC took official action at its March 15, 2012 public meeting to approve Washington County Board of Education’s ethics policy, administrative regulation, and exhibits.