My Father’s Rules of Ethics
A lot of politicians have gotten their names in the newspaper these days – but not for the right reasons. Recent events have weakened people’s trust of our government — and left many of us disappointed and disillusioned.
I have always viewed public service as a public trust. Maybe it is old fashioned, but I believe public officials should be held to a higher ethical standard. That’s why I have always encouraged the people of Baltimore County to demand the highest ethical standards in our elected officials — and settle for nothing less. And I believe elected officials should not just avoid improprieties; we should avoid even the appearance of impropriety.
After I was first elected to Council, my father & I took a long walk together. Although Dad has since passed, I still remember it like it was yesterday. He shared with me his four rules for elected officials; four rules that I will never forget:
Rule #1: Be honest and do the right thing, for the right reasons;
Rule #2: Guard the public’s money like you would your children’s college fund;
Rule #3: Don’t think you are special; you’re there to do a job; and
Rule #4: If you have any questions about any of the first three rules, don’t do it!
My Dad worked hard his whole life; he was a big believer in ethics, and so am I. As Councilman, I sponsored a Resolution forbidding campaign fund-raising during the year-long Comprehensive Rezoning Process. I also worked against a proposed Charter change that would allow Council members to work for state government — a potential conflict of interest that we voters ultimately rejected. And I stood up to the local developers who were placing political pressure on me, not only denying their rezoning request, but going public with their bullying tactics.
I am proud of my reputation as a no-nonsense, ethical public servant. And I am proud to have the opportunity to serve you with honesty and integrity. I will always work hard to maintain your confidence in me.