Rozanski Ousted from Cecil County Ethics Panel; Broomell Ally and Donor was Critic of Moore, Hodge
Walter Rozanski has been removed from the Cecil County Ethics Commission, after his vocal criticism of several county elected officials, expressed on social media and emails, raised questions about his ability to be impartial in considering cases or rendering decisions on complaints.
Rozanski had been appointed to the ethics panel with support from Councilor Diana Broomell (R-4) and he attended nearly all County Commissioner and County Council worksessions before and after his appointment to the ethics panel. During many of those Commissioner/Council sessions, Broomell often accused County Councilor Robert Hodge (R-5) and other county officials and department heads of alleged conflicts of interest and ethical violations—as Rozanski sat in the audience and listened intently.
County Executive Tari Moore told Cecil Times Tuesday that she made the decision to remove Rozanski– as the county Charter empowers her to do for any and all members of county boards and commissions—because members of the ethics panel “need to have balance and impartiality.”
Moore declined to get into details of her concerns about Rozanski, saying, “I don’t feel comfortable getting into specifics” and “I want to respect Walter’s privacy.”
However, Cecil Times has tracked many of Rozanski’s social media comments, including postings’ on Broomell’s Facebook wall attacking Moore and Hodge. Sources said Rozanski had also sent various emails critical of county officials, decisions and policies.
Rozanski donated $100 to Broomell’s political campaign fund in 2012, when she ran and lost to Moore in the GOP primary for county executive, state campaign finance records show. Last March, Broomell proposed, and won approval from the old “Three Amigos” voting majority of the County Commissioners, to change and extend the terms of Rozanski and Valerie Falcioni, who were then new appointees to the ethics panel. Broomell’s action extended Rozanski’s previously-approved term expiration date from 12/6/12 to 12/6/15.
A few months ago, Rozanski intervened in a political debate on Broomell’s Facebook wall with Andrew Langer, a leading national and Eastern Shore conservative strategist and policy thinker, who questioned Broomell’s position on proposed Cecil County Council operating procedures that Langer believed would infringe on First Amendment rights of citizens.
Rozanski interjected his view that “I’ve watched the charade play out by the puppets of the Cecil Business Leaders, the Cecil County Patriots. The King and Queen of Cecil County dance for the CBL and the Patriots are their foot soldiers on the ground. The Cecil County Patriots create a false perception of what government is really doing. The tier maps were set up for the King of Cecil County because he has property that should be in tier four. The Patriots support a 5 million dollar bridge in the same council person’s back yard and the Patriots like to use the words idiot, broomella, pscho,and refernce mental health conditions when a person does not agree with their agenda.” [SIC on the mis-spellings]
Rozanski has also posted comments critical of county political figures on the Facebook wall of Councilor Michael Dunn (R-3), who supported Rozanski’s appointment and extended term of office on the ethics panel. Dunn has repeatedly made denigrating comments, including at public Council meetings, calling Hodge the “King” of county politics and Moore the “Queen.” Both Dunn and Broomell have been critical of the Cecil County Patriots, the local ‘tea party’ group that initially backed Broomell in her 2010 campaign for commissioner but has since turned against her politics and policies.
Complaints filed with the Ethics Commission are by law confidential and even those who file a complaint, or who are the targets of complaints, are prohibited from acknowledging the existence of a complaint. However, it is widely believed that supporters of Broomell have filed complaints against Hodge. And it is well-known in Elkton that Broomell herself has filed requests with the ethics panel to obtain the financial disclosure forms filed by her fellow County Council members and Moore.
Cecil Times approached Rozanski after Tuesday’s worksession to discuss the matter and he said, “no comment” even before any question was asked. “I have no comment for you,” he added.
Moore made her decision a few weeks ago and, as a courtesy, she spoke to Falcioni, a close ally of Broomell who has been the chairperson of the ethics panel. Moore said that Falcioni expressed “surprise” at the move but upon explanation “understood” it.
Moore told Rozanski of his removal from the panel right before its most recent meeting on 5/20/13. Then Moore spoke to the ethics panel to explain her decision.
Meanwhile, Moore has begun the search for a replacement for Rozanski on the five-member ethics panel. She said she has asked for a “file” of people who had applied for consideration for appointment to the panel and expressed confidence that there were many well-qualified candidates who had applied for the post.
An appointee by Moore to fill the slot will require confirmation by the County Council.
[UPDATE: On 6/17/13, County Councilor Diana Broomell (R-4) posted comments regarding Rozanzki’s removal from the ethics panel, which have been published in full on our Letters to the Editor page. You can read the full text of her comments here: http://ceciltimes.com/letters-to-the-editor/