Cecil County Ethics Code: Broomell Asks Do-Over, Again; Hodge Demands She Put up or Shut up

December 13, 2011

What part of you lost the vote—and the state Ethics Board also disagrees with you—does Cecil County Commissioner Diana Broomell (R-4) not understand?

Like a child who refuses to accept a parent’s declaration of no cookies before dinner, it was déjà vu all over again Tuesday, as Broomell once again refused to accept defeat on her demands to re-write the newly adopted county ethics code. Yet again, she insisted that the county Commissioners re-visit the ethics code that has not even officially taken effect.

But Commissioner Robert Hodge (R-5) demanded that she stop her “insinuations” of unethical conduct against county employees and put up or shut up on vague accusations of wrongdoing.

Commissioners Board President James Mullin (R-1), who originally voted for adoption of the new ethics code, wussed out in the face of repeated Broomell challenges— after he originally sided with a majority against Broomell on the earlier adoption of the new code. For the second time after adoption of the new ethics code, Mullin sought “more time” to review objections raised by Broomell. As a result, no decision was made Tuesday and commissioners will again review the Broomell demands.

At issue is Broomell’s insistence that county department heads should be mandated to file the same copiously detailed financial disclosure forms that elected commissioners must file under a new state mandate, which led to the recent adoption of a new county ethics code. However, Broomell’s demands for department heads are not required by the tough new state ethics code, and in fact, some of her demands were shot down by the state ethics board as unenforceable and/or imposing a nightmare of time-consuming and costly requirements on county government.

Broomell also wants to require “independent contractors,” including attorneys, doing business with the county to file detailed financial disclosures similar to those required of elected officials, which require revelation of all personal property, business, investment, mortgage and partnership interests, and similar disclosures for their spouses.

In a 9/14/11 email to county officials, Jennifer Allgair, a state ethics official, said that such a demand for ‘independent contractors” to file such disclosures would pose “an administrative nightmare for the local ethics commission to attempt to regulate all independent contractors of the county.” The state official insisted the county should “remove independent contractors from the financial disclosure requirements.”

Despite state officials’ findings to the contrary, Broomell demanded yet again on Tuesday that her views be adopted by the county Commissioners.

Broomell also reiterated her assertions that “some constituents” believe that county department heads may have undisclosed conflicts of interest and “have profited” from their decisions, so they should be mandated to file the same detailed disclosure statements required of elected officials. (However, the state law does not require county department heads to file the same disclosures as elected officials.)

Challenging Broomell’s assertions, Commissioner Tari Moore (R-2), observed: “Department heads don’t make budget decisions; we make budgetary decisions.” Of the new county ethics code, Moore said, “We voted on it, it passed, and we have not had a chance to implement it.”

At one point, Broomell declared that her demands should be implemented because “We can’t micromanage every detail.” There were some guffaws in the audience, reflecting public dismay that Broomell has increasingly interjected herself in the minutiae of county government and decision-making by professional staff with technical credentials she lacks.

An angry Broomell chastised the audience, saying “Keep it down out there.”

Commissioner Hodge challenged Broomell on her frequent veiled allegations that some department heads may have undisclosed conflicts of interest. He said that her “insinuations” were improper and if she had evidence of wrongdoing, she should report it to the Ethics Commission or other authorities.

“Don’t put words in my mouth,” Broomell retorted. She claimed she did not believe county employees had conflicts of interest but asserted that unnamed constituents thought that way.

Hodge shot back: “Instead of insinuating” that someone is guilty of “impropriety,” and trying to “make people look bad” by putting up “this cloud of muddy water,” Broomell or her “constituents” should come forward with specific allegations or stop the innuendo.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

16 Responses to Cecil County Ethics Code: Broomell Asks Do-Over, Again; Hodge Demands She Put up or Shut up

  1. Bob Gatchel on December 13, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    When is the election again? 😉

  2. Observation on December 14, 2011 at 8:27 am

    R.I.N.O., she is, yes.

    Broomell seems to want more and more government intrusion. Next, I suppose all citizens will have to make a full disclosure.

    Does she understand that Republicans and Conservatives believe in less government?

  3. Wm. Andrew Carroll on December 14, 2011 at 9:23 am

    Imposing further regulations on Cecil County companies that wish to do business with their government? How is this progressive to rebuilding our local economy? Requiring these financial disclosures is not the proper way to deal with accusations of misuse of public property and funding, or other unethical conduct. If the county believes this is a pressing issue, the commissioners should create a confidential forum for county employees to report these issues. Such a forum could be an ethics hotline.

    Let’s get over these petty arguments and come up with real solutions, so we can focus on the issues that will provide greater tangible benefits to Cecil County. For starters, let’s actually get our local economy back on a better footing.

  4. Natalie Ricci on December 14, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    Broomell has been reading from the Michelle Bachman playbook — says whatever comes to mind after listening to a constituent. Diana doesn’t understand that she is supposed to be utilizing some sort of filter in her professional life…other than the oft-utlized filter of the Smipkins! There is nothing more to say other than SHE NEEDS TO GO!

    • Alexis on December 14, 2011 at 9:37 pm

      Broomell learned the “a constituent said………” trick from her mentor Mike Smigiel. Always seems to advance their agenda. She knows more than the Attorney General of MD and the state ethics board?

  5. Brian Arellazano on December 14, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    The Cecil County government has an ethics hotline known as “Silent Whistle,” which is an anonymous service whereby County employees needing to confidentially report business abuse and/or dishonesty can do so. It is available through a toll free number or through the internet. This has been available to county employees for many years.

    • Wm. Andrew Carroll on December 17, 2011 at 11:01 am

      That’s great to hear! How well is it promoted within the county government?

  6. Tidewater on December 15, 2011 at 10:45 am

    I would like detailed financial disclosures from the heads of the departments, however I would require them to pay for this disclosure themselves just like elected officials.

    There is no reason to burden the county with this expense. Consider a detailed financial disclosure as part of an applicants resume before hiring or rehiring them. No disclosure, no appointment. Simple.

    It would be very revealing to see …[potentially libelous allegation removed by CT editor]

    Keep pushing Ms. Broomell. If you put light on cockroaches they run away, without robbing the taxpayers blind.

    • Scott on January 3, 2012 at 12:05 am

      Sounds like “Tidewater” is really Mrs. Broomell. There are procedures and policies in place for this already, yet this RINO is on an unfounded witch hunt. The only ‘pushing’ that needs to be done is when the citizens of Cecil rise up and PUSH her out of office. I ALWAYS vote Republican, but my mantra in November will be anyone but Broomell or Mullin or Dunn!

  7. john ulrich on December 15, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    She is not a Rino, just a typical Republican in the Smigiel-Pipkin vein of the party, looking only for more power and control for herself.

    • Ed Burke on December 16, 2011 at 9:53 am

      Broomell is a Rino (Republican in name only) because she is really a Smipkin (S) looking for more power and control for herself, like O’Malley and Obama.

  8. Jackie Gregory on December 16, 2011 at 2:54 am

    Bachmann? Definitely not. Please don’t compare Broomell to a conservative, since she is absolutely not. Broomell has shown herself to be a progressive who promotes more government regulation, micromanagement of our lives, and impediments to economic growth. She is promoting Plan MD anti-growth policies at the local level. Even her ethics proposals for volunteers do more to discourage people who have been successful in business from serving on boards, while her tree-hugging friends who lobby local government on behalf of their non-profits will have no impediments to their appointments to boards and commissions.

  9. SchoolMarm on December 16, 2011 at 8:37 am

    Please note: there is a big, fat R next to Broomell’s name. She is a Republican. Period. Or, more to the point, she is not a Democrat and indeed ran against and defeated a Democrat to be elected.

    • Ed Burke on December 16, 2011 at 3:31 pm

      As we know, or should know, the D or R label in local elections is not as significant as in staetwide or national elections. Broomell (R) defeated an excellent Democratic candidate in what was a Republican landslide in the last election. Broomell has shown herself to be the same anti-growth, anti-property rights, vindictive person she was before her election. She would not have been elected without lots of Democratic and Unafiliated votes.

      But more importantly now, she would not have power without the votes of Mullin and Dunn. Voters need to study the issues and the candidates instead of relying on false promises.

      • Tidewater on December 17, 2011 at 11:52 am

        Are you kidding yourself. There is no such thing as an excellent Democrat. They are all nothing but organized [potentially libelous word deleted by CT]. Corzine, Edwards, Blago, Obama, O’Malley are gods to local Democrats who are useless idiots hellbent on using the government to steal everything that isn’t nailed down. RINO are no better.

  10. Tom Kenny on December 16, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    If Ms. Broomell is so concerned about potential … [issues] among county workers, why has she remained silent about … questions surrounding her “Amigo” Mike Dunn? There are still many unanswered questions surrounding Mr. Dunn since his election and no responses from him despite numerous requests from concerned citizens. So, Ms. Broomell here is a chance to further the cause of transparency in government and disclosures…. Get Mr. Dunn to make a statement about his situation and why has he waited so long to “clear the air.” Time to “put up or shut up,” to quote an old, often used phrase. We’re waiting, Ms. Broomell.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Fine Maryland Wines
Proudly made in Cecil County