Ethics Complaint Against Campbell Fiscal Court Dismissed
The Campbell County ethics board commission voted unanimously at its April 12th meeting to dismiss an ethics complaint against the county’s Fiscal Court.
On a technicality, the complaint was dismissed.
During the public meeting, the three county ethics commission board members voted to dismiss the complaint submitted because the complaint was not signed by the submitter, Erik Hermes. In the complaint, Hermes claimed that the nepotism clause in the county’s ethics ordinance was violated.
“The committee can only accept formal complaints,” said ethics commission board member Andrea Janovic. ”Because the document was not signed, it does not make it formal according to the county’s ethics ordinance.”
After the dismissal of the complaint, the commission members participated in a spirited discussion about the county’s current nepotism section of its code of ethics ordinance.
In the end, commission members felt that the county’s nepotism portion of its ethics ordinance should be revised to be less vague and decided to reconvene in a month’s time after further review of how past ethics complaints were handled, but not before some intense debate.
Hermes’s complaint was submitted last month against the county’s Fiscal Court alleging that the hiring of an employee at the county-administered A.J. Jolly Park violates the Campbell County administrative code and the Campbell County ethics ordinance. It was brought about because A.J. Jolly head golf pro, Terry Jolly, a distant relative of the former Campbell County judge executive for whom the course and adjacent park are named, has annually hired his wife, Lisa Jolly, to hold a seasonal position at the park since 1999.
It was mentioned by board members that the employee may need to be fired if it is found that her employment violates the ethics ordinance. In response, Campbell County Attorney Steve Franzen outlined that the commission did not have the authority to reverse the hiring of said employee quoting section 35.03 of the county’s code of ethics.
“How are these jobs advertised?,” asked Janovic. “It seems very unlikely that there is much advertising if the same person has been hired for the same seasonal position since 1999."
Following the meeting, we reached out to Frank Spataro, Campbell County’s director of human resources. He said, “All open employment opportunities are on the county’s human resources website and posted here at the county building for at least seven days. We also are beginning to use social media to advertise as well.”
It was unanimous that the ethics board felt that nepotism should be redefined and fall more inline with other Kentucky counties definitions. “It may be too vague with regard to the way complaints can be filed,” said commission member Steve Stapleton.
Written by Kareem A. Simpson, RCN contributor