The Oakland County Board of Commissioners has voted to give Board Chairman Mike Gingell (R-Lake Orion) the authority to appoint an ad hoc committee to study the county’s 20-year-old ethics policy to see if there are changes to be made.
According to county staff, the three county commissioners who will serve on the ad hoc committee are Commissioner Bill Dwyer (R-Farmington Hills), who will chair the committee; and Commissioner Philip Weipert (R-Walled Lake, Wixom) and Commissioner Tim Greimel (D-Auburn Hills).
Gingell also has the authority to appoint “non-commissioner” members to the panel.
Commissioner Robert Hoffman (R-Highland) said that, while he hadn’t carefully reviewed the county’s current ethics policy because he is “the new guy on the block” — he was appointed to the board earlier this year to fill Oakland County Clerk/Register of Deeds Bill Bullard Jr.’s vacant board seat — he thinks “it’s not a bad idea to review (the current ethics rules).”
“They will be meeting with (Human Resources) and going over our current policy and making any recommendations and/or changes,” said Commissioner John Scott (R-Waterford, West Bloomfield), who added that he suspected that anything that comes out of the ad hoc committee will likely “bounce around a little bit before it gets to me” as chairman of the Human Resources Committee.
Weipert said there were “no specific things” that he had in mind in terms of changes and that reviewing the policy “won’t hurt anything,” adding that the committee will get together in the next week weeks with the hopes of making some recommendations in the “next month or two.”
The issue was raised during the Board of Commissioners’ last session of 2010, when Greimel put forward a trio of proposed ethics policies that died in committee.
The first resolution Greimel introduced would have enacted the Oakland County Ethics Ordinance, which was based almost entirely on former Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox’s Model Ethics Ordinance for Local Governments.
The second resolution would have required that all check registers for “all individual expenditures by all county elected officials and departments be posted online in such a way as to be easily accessible by members of the public,” starting in Fiscal Year (FY) 2011.
The third resolution would have essentially called on the Department of Information Technology to implement a “Track Your Taxes” website, similar to one that Cox’s department maintained.