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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.

Councilman Kamenetz with his dad, Irvin Kamenetz, "Doc Kaye" of Kaye's Pharmacy in Overlea

Councilman Kamenetz with his dad, Irvin Kamenetz, "Doc Kaye" of Kaye's Pharmacy in Overlea

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.

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