Allen County employees will soon learn what is and is not considered an ethics violation at a seminar in the works for this year or early next.
The pending workshop was discussed Friday by members of the Allen County Ethics Commission, who also outlined future procedures in light of the recently updated and revised county ethics law.
Tom Hardin, local attorney, and Wendy Stein, local business owner, are seasoned members of the group. Abraham Schwab, assistant professor in the Department of Philosophy at IPFW, joined the group in January, and it was the first meeting for former Allen Superior Court Judge Philip Thieme.
The commission has been increased from three to five members, but a fifth member has yet to be appointed. No more than three members can be from the same political party, according to the new rules.
Changes ensued after the commission held the spotlight for much of 2012 when then-County Councilman Paul Moss was pulled over by an Allen County sheriffs officer in June and refused a breath test. One phone call to Sheriff Ken Fries later, and Moss was allowed to find a ride home without having to take any more field sobriety tests.
At a final hearing in November, an apology from Moss prompted the commission to dismiss a complaint filed by a former county employee. Moss didnt seek re-election and his term ended Dec. 31.
Friday was the first meeting of the commission since the commissioners passed the revised ethics policy in June.
The revised policy is clearly inclusive of all county elected officials and states that all are subject to its provisions. It established time frames for ethics complaints and hearings in light of the six months it took to resolve the complaint against Moss and Fries.
Other changes such as staggered terms will be worked out before the end of the year, said Hardin, who was elected to serve as chairman of the commission through the end of the year.
The Allen County Human Resource Department will conduct the ethics workshops, and Director Janette Jacquay will attend the next commission meeting in November to discuss seminar details.
County employees will hear an overview of the policy and will be presented with scenarios involving the right and wrong ethical response, Hardin said.