Harford County, MD
 
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Harford County Council by Bill No. 94-74; amended in its entirety by Bill No. 11-50. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Administration of Government — See Ch. 4.
Boards, commissions, councils and agencies — See Ch. 9.
Departments — See Ch. 16.
Elections — See Ch. 20.
Personnel — See Ch. 38
This chapter may be cited as the Harford County Public Ethics Law.
The provisions of this chapter apply to all Harford County elected officials, employees and appointees to boards and commissions of the County.
In this chapter, the following words have the meanings indicated.
ACT AS A COMPENSATED REPRESENTATIVE
Doing anything that reasonably could be expected to help or aid a person to obtain anything of benefit in any matter involving the County or a County agency, where the former County official or employee receives anything of value in consideration of the help or aid.
BOARD
The Harford County Ethics Board established by this chapter.
BUSINESS ENTITY
Includes any entity, regardless of form.
COMPENSATION
Any money or thing of value, regardless of form, received or to be received by any individual covered by this chapter from an employer for services rendered. For the purposes of the lobbying section of this chapter, if lobbying is only a portion of a person's employment "compensation" means a prorated amount based on the time devoted to lobbying compared to the time devoted to other employment duties. For reporting purposes, a prorated amount shall be labeled as such.
DIRECTOR OF HUMAN RESOURCES
If the position is vacant or is abolished, "Director of Human Resources" shall mean the personnel officer provided for in § 605 of this Charter.
EMPLOYEE
Any person, other than an official, employed by the executive or legislative branch of County government.
EMPLOYER
Any person paying or agreeing to pay compensation to another person for services rendered.
EXECUTIVE ACTION
Any act taken by the County Executive or an employee in the executive branch for which the executive branch is responsible.
A. 
Ownership of any interest as a result of which the owner has received within the past 3 years, is presently receiving, or in the future is entitled to receive, more than $1,000 per year; or
B. 
Ownership or the ownership of securities of any kind representing or convertible to ownership of more than 3% of a business entity.
GIFT
The transfer of anything of economic value, regardless of the form, without adequate and lawful consideration. "Gift" does not include the solicitation, acceptance, receipt or regulation of political campaign contributions in accordance with state law.
A. 
A payment of money or anything of value for:
(1) 
Speaking to, participating in or attending a meeting, conference or other function; or
(2) 
Writing an article, other than a book, that has been or is intended to be published.
B. 
"Honorarium" does not include payment of or reimbursement for reasonable expenses for meals, travel, lodging and care for children or dependent adults, if the expenses are actually incurred in speaking to, participating in or attending a meeting, conference or other function, or in writing an article, other than a book, that has been or is intended to be published.
IMMEDIATE FAMILY MEMBER
The spouse and dependent children of an official or employee.
INTEREST
Any legal or equitable economic interest, whether or not subject to an encumbrance or a condition, which is owned or held, in whole or in part, jointly or severally, directly or indirectly. "Interest" does not include:
A. 
An interest held in the capacity of a personal representative, agent, custodian, fiduciary or trustee, unless the holder or a family member of the holder has an equitable interest therein;
B. 
An interest in a time or demand deposit in a financial institution;
C. 
An interest in an insurance or endowment policy or annuity contract under which an insurance company promises to pay a fixed number of dollars either in a lump sum or periodically for life or some other specified period; or
D. 
An interest in a common trust fund or a trust that forms part of a pension or profit-sharing plan that has more than 25 participants and which has been determined by the Internal Revenue Service to be a qualified trust under Sections 401 and 501 of the Internal Revenue Code.
LEGISLATIVE ACTION
The introduction, sponsorship, consideration, debate, amendment, passage, defeat, approval, veto or any other official action or non-action on any legislation, resolution, amendment, nomination, appointment, report, any other matter pending or proposed before the County Council or any legislation pending before or presented to the County Executive for signature or veto.
LOBBYING
The performing of any act requiring registration under § 23-7 of this chapter.
LOBBYIST
Any person who, within a reporting period, in the presence of any official or employee in the legislative or executive branch has communicated with that official or employee for the purpose of influencing any legislative action, and who, for that purpose and exclusive of the personal travel or subsistence expenses of that person or representative of that person, either incurs expenses of $100 or more or receives $500 or more as compensation, or any person who expends a cumulative value of $100 or more during a reporting period on one or more officials or employees in the executive branch for meals, beverages, special events or gifts in connection with or with the purpose of influencing executive action.
OFFICIAL
The County Executive, the members of the County Council, the director, officer or coordinator of each County department and agency, and each member appointed to a County board or commission.
QUALIFIED RELATIVE
An official or employee's spouse, parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, sibling or spouse of each qualified relative.
STATEMENT
The statement of financial interests required by Section 23-6 of this chapter.
A. 
There is a Harford County Ethics Board that consists of 5 members appointed by the County Executive and confirmed by the County Council for a term coterminous with that of the County Executive. Not more than 3 members of the Board shall be members of the same political party.
B. 
The Board shall:
(1) 
Devise, receive and maintain all forms required by this chapter;
(2) 
Develop procedures and policies for advisory opinion requests and provide published advisory opinions to persons subject to this chapter regarding the applicability of the provisions of this chapter to them;
(3) 
Develop procedures and policies for the processing of complaints to make appropriate determinations regarding complaints filed by any person alleging violations of this chapter; and
(4) 
Conduct a public information program regarding the purposes and application of this chapter.
C. 
The Board shall be advised throughout the complaint procedure by the Department of Law, except when it receives a complaint or a request for an opinion involving a member of the Department of Law or the County Executive, in which case it shall be advised by the County Council Attorney.
D. 
The Board shall certify to the State Ethics Commission on or before October 1 of each year that the County is in compliance with the requirements of State Government Article, Title 15, Subtitle 8, Annotated Code of Maryland, for elected local officials.
E. 
The Board shall determine if changes to this chapter are required to be in compliance with the requirements of State Government Article, Title 15, Subtitle 8, Annotated Code of Maryland, and shall forward any recommended changes and amendments to the County Executive for enactment by the County Council.
F. 
The Board may adopt other policies and procedures to assist in the implementation of the Board's programs established in this chapter.
A. 
The board is authorized to receive written complaints signed by the complainant, to conduct investigations upon the complaints, hold hearings and swear witnesses. A complaint may be filed by any person, including a Board member, and shall be under oath. A complaint must be filed within 3 years after the date of the alleged violation. After a complaint is filed or an advisory opinion is requested, all actions regarding the complaint or request shall be treated confidentially until the Board issues a final decision or opinion. The Board shall keep accurate and complete records of its business, and the Law Department shall serve as the custodian of the records.
B. 
Upon receipt of a complaint alleging a violation of this chapter, the Board shall determine whether there is a reasonable basis to believe a violation has occurred. If the Board determines that there is not a reasonable basis for the complaint, the Board shall dismiss the matter summarily. If a reasonable basis exists, the Board shall send written notice to the subject of the complaint that a hearing will be held on the complaint on a date specified in the notice. The Board shall dismiss the complaint and cancel the hearing if the violation is corrected within 15 calendar days from the date of the notice, but only if dismissal would not be contrary to the purposes of this chapter. If the violation is not corrected within the 15 calendar days, the Board shall take further investigatory and procedural steps necessary to resolve the matter, and shall allow the person accused to be represented by counsel, to be confronted by the complainant, and to present evidence at a hearing. If the person accused requests a public hearing, the request shall be granted. Each Board decision shall be in writing, include findings of fact and conclusions of law with respect to each alleged violation, and include a written statement by the Department of Law that the Board has complied with this chapter and the Board's rules of procedure in reaching its opinion.
C. 
If, after appropriate investigation or hearing, the Board finds that a violation has occurred, the Board shall notify the County Attorney of the violation. The County Attorney shall proceed with civil enforcement of this chapter or, if the violation involves criminal sanctions, the matter shall be sent to the State's Attorney.
D. 
The Board shall adopt, in accordance with Section 807 of the Charter, rules of procedure for its meetings, investigations and hearings. Rules adopted or amended under this subsection are not effective until approved by resolution of the County Council.
E. 
When the Board receives a request from an official or employee for an opinion on the application of this chapter to the official or employee, it shall issue a preliminary response within 15 calendar days and a final opinion within 30 calendar days. If the Board fails to issue a final opinion within the 30 calendar days, the County Attorney shall issue an opinion within 15 calendar days of the date on which the Board's opinion was due.
A. 
In this section, "qualified relative" means a spouse, parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, sibling or spouse of each family member.
B. 
All County elected officials, officials appointed to County boards and commissions subject to this chapter and employees are subject to this section.
C. 
Participation prohibitions. Except as permitted by Board regulation or opinion, an official or employee may not participate in:
(1) 
Except in the exercise of an administrative or ministerial duty that does not affect the disposition or decision of the matter, any matter in which, to the knowledge of the official or employee, the official or employee or a qualified relative of the official or employee has an interest.
(2) 
Except in the exercise of an administrative or ministerial duty that does not affect the disposition or decision with respect to the matter, any matter in which any of the following is a party:
(a) 
A business entity in which the official or employee has a direct financial interest of which the official or employee may reasonably be expected to know;
(b) 
A business entity for which the official, employee or a qualified relative of the official or employee is an officer, director, trustee, partner or employee;
(c) 
A business entity with which the official or employee or, to the knowledge of the official or employee, a qualified relative is negotiating employment or has any arrangement concerning prospective employment;
(d) 
If the contract reasonably could be expected to result in a conflict between the private interests of the official or employee and the official duties of the official or employee, a business entity that is a party to an existing contract with the official or employee, or which, to the knowledge of the official or employee, is a party to a contract with a qualified relative;
(e) 
An entity, doing business with the county, in which a direct financial interest is owned by another entity in which the official or employee has a direct financial interest, if the official or employee may be reasonably expected to know of both direct financial interests; or
(f) 
A business entity that:
[1] 
The official or employee knows is a creditor or obligee of the official or employee or a qualified relative of the official or employee with respect to a thing of economic value; and
[2] 
As a creditor or obligee, is in a position to directly and substantially affect the interest of the official or employee or a qualified relative of the official or employee.
(3) 
A person who is disqualified from participating under Paragraphs (1) or (2) of this subsection shall disclose the nature and circumstances of the conflict and may participate or act if:
(a) 
The disqualification leaves a body with less than a quorum capable of acting;
(b) 
The disqualified official or employee is required by law to act; or
(c) 
The disqualified official or employee is the only person authorized to act.
(4) 
The prohibitions of Paragraphs (1) and (2) of this subsection do not apply if participation is allowed by regulation or opinion of the Board.
D. 
Employment and financial interest restrictions.
(1) 
Except as permitted by regulation of the Board when the interest is disclosed or when the employment does not create a conflict of interest or appearance of conflict, an official or employee may not:
(a) 
Be employed by or have a financial interest in any entity:
[1] 
Subject to the authority of the official or employee or the County agency, board or commission with which the official or employee is affiliated; or
[2] 
That is negotiating or has entered a contract with the agency, board or commission with which the official or employee is affiliated; or
(b) 
Hold any other employment relationship that would impair the impartiality or independence of judgment of the official or employee.
(2) 
This prohibition does not apply to:
(a) 
An official or employee who is appointed to a regulatory or licensing authority pursuant to a statutory requirement that persons subject to the jurisdiction of the authority be represented in appointments to the authority;
(b) 
Subject to other provisions of law, a member of a board or commission in regard to a financial interest or employment held at the time of appointment, provided the financial interest or employment is publicly disclosed to the appointing authority and the Board;
(c) 
An official or employee whose duties are ministerial, if the private employment or financial interest does not create a conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict of interest, as permitted by and in accordance with regulations adopted by the Board; or
(d) 
Employment or financial interests allowed by regulation of the Board if the employment does not create a conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict of interest or the financial interest is disclosed.
E. 
Post-employment limitations and restrictions.
(1) 
A former official or employee may not assist or represent any party other than the County for compensation in a case, contract or other specific matter involving the County if that matter is one in which the former official or employee significantly participated as an official or employee.
[Amended by Bill No. 15-034]
(2) 
For one year after the County Executive or Council member leaves office, they may not assist or represent another party for compensation in a matter that is the subject of legislative action.
F. 
Contingent compensation. Except in a judicial or quasi-judicial proceeding, an official or employee may not assist or represent a party for contingent compensation in any matter before or involving the County.
G. 
Use of prestige of office.
(1) 
An official or employee may not intentionally use the prestige of office or public position for the private gain of that official or employee or the private gain of another.
(2) 
This subsection does not prohibit the performance of usual and customary constituent services by an elected local official without additional compensation.
(3) 
An official or employee may not appoint, employ, promote or advocate the appointment, employment or promotion of a qualified relative of the employee or official to or in a position as a County employee, whether the position is classified, exempt or contractual.
(4) 
An individual may not be appointed to, employed in, promoted to or advanced in a position as a County employee if the appointment, employment, promotion or advancement has been advocated by an official or employee who is a qualified relative of the individual and who exercises jurisdiction or control over the position.
(5) 
An official or employee may not intimidate, threaten, coerce or discriminate against, or attempt to intimidate, threaten, coerce or discriminate against any person for the purpose of interfering with that person's freedom to engage in political activity.
(6) 
A person may not attempt to influence an official or employee to violate any provision of this chapter, and any attempt to exercise such influence is a violation of this chapter.
H. 
Solicitation and acceptance of gifts.
(1) 
An official or employee may not solicit any gift.
(2) 
An official or employee may not directly solicit or facilitate the solicitation of a gift, on behalf of another person, from an individual regulated lobbyist.
(3) 
An official or employee may not knowingly accept a gift, directly or indirectly, from a person that the official or employee knows or has the reason to know:
(a) 
Is doing business with or seeking to do business with the County office, agency, board or commission with which the official or employee is affiliated;
(b) 
Has financial interests that may be substantially and materially affected, in a manner distinguishable from the public generally, by the performance or nonperformance of the official duties of the official or employee;
(c) 
Is engaged in an activity regulated or controlled by the official's or employee's governmental unit; or
(d) 
Is a lobbyist with respect to matters within the jurisdiction of the official or employee.
(4) 
Paragraph (5) of this subsection does not apply to a gift:
(a) 
That would tend to impair the impartiality and the independence of judgment of the official or employee receiving the gift;
(b) 
Of significant value that would give the appearance of impairing the impartiality and independence of judgment of the official or employee; or
(c) 
Of significant value that the recipient official or employee believes or has reason to believe is designed to impair the impartiality and independence of judgment of the official or employee.
(5) 
Notwithstanding Paragraph (3) of this subsection, an official or employee may accept the following:
(a) 
Meals and beverages consumed in the presence of the donor or sponsoring entity;
(b) 
Ceremonial gifts or awards that have insignificant monetary value;
(c) 
Unsolicited gifts of nominal value that do not exceed $20 in cost or trivial items of informational value;
(d) 
Reasonable expenses for food, travel, lodging and scheduled entertainment of the official or the employee at a meeting which is given in return for the participation of the official or employee in a panel or speaking engagement at the meeting;
(e) 
Gifts of tickets or free admission extended to an elected local official to attend a charitable, cultural or political event, if the purpose of this gift or admission is a courtesy or ceremony extended to the elected official's office;
(f) 
A specific gift or class of gifts that the Board exempts from the operation of this subsection upon a finding, in writing, that acceptance of the gift or class of gifts would not be detrimental to the impartial conduct of the business of the County and that the gift is purely personal and private in nature;
(g) 
Gifts from a person related to the official or employee by blood or marriage, or any other individual who is a member of the household of the official or employee; or
(h) 
Honoraria for speaking to or participating in a meeting, provided that the offering of the honorarium is not related in any way to the official's or employee's official position. An honorarium may be accepted if it is intended as payment for teaching or performing other services that do not conflict with the official's or employee's official duties.
(6) 
Exemptions from this section may be granted in the following manner to an official or employee who serves on a County board, commission or committee:
(a) 
If the official or employee is appointed by the County Council, the Board may grant an exemption upon the recommendation of the Council; or
(b) 
If the official or employee is appointed by the County Executive, the County Council may grant an exemption upon the recommendation of the Board.
(c) 
An exemption may be granted only upon a finding that:
[1] 
Application of this section to the official or employee would:
[a] 
Constitute an unreasonable invasion of privacy; or
[b] 
Significantly reduce the availability of qualified individuals for public service; and
[2] 
The exemption would not be contrary to the purposes of this section.
(d) 
Whenever possible, application for an exemption under this subsection shall be made at the time the official or employee in question is appointed.
I. 
Disclosure of confidential information. Other than in the discharge of official duties, an official or employee may not disclose or use confidential information, that the official or employee acquired by reason of the official's or employee's public position and that is not available to the public, for the economic benefit of the official or employee or that of another person.
J. 
Participation in procurement.
(1) 
An individual or a person that employs an individual who assists a County agency in the drafting of specifications, an invitation for bids or a request for proposals for a procurement may not submit a bid or proposal for that procurement or assist or represent another person, directly or indirectly, who is submitting a bid or proposal for the procurement.
(2) 
The Board may establish exemptions from the requirements of this section for providing descriptive literature, sole source procurements and written comments solicited by the procuring agency.
A. 
(1) 
A local elected official, a candidate to be a local elected official or appointed employees and employees designated in Subsection C of this section shall file the financial disclosure statement required under this section:
(a) 
On a form provided by the Board;
(b) 
Under oath or affirmation; and
(c) 
With the Board.
(2) 
Deadlines for filing statements.
(a) 
An incumbent local elected official shall file a financial disclosure statement annually no later than April 30 of each year for the preceding calendar year.
(b) 
An individual who is appointed to fill a vacancy in an office for which a financial disclosure statement is required and who has not already filed a financial disclosure statement shall file a statement for the preceding calendar year within 30 days after appointment.
(c) 
Appointment.
[1] 
An individual who, other than by reason of death, leaves an office for which a statement is required shall file a statement within 60 days after leaving the office.
[2] 
The statement shall cover:
[a] 
The calendar year immediately preceding the year in which the individual left office, unless a statement covering that year has already been filed by the individual; and
[b] 
The portion of the current calendar year during which the individual held the office.
B. 
Candidates to be local elected officials.
(1) 
Except for an official who has filed a financial disclosure statement under another provision of this section for the reporting period, a candidate to be an elected local official shall file under a financial disclosure statement each year beginning with the year in which the certificate of candidacy is filed through the year of the election.
(2) 
A candidate to be an elected local official shall file a statement required under this section.
(a) 
In the year the certificate of candidacy is filed, no later than the filing of the certificate of candidacy;
(b) 
In the year of the election, on or before the earlier of April 30 or the last day for the withdrawal of candidacy; and
(c) 
In all other years for which a statement is required, on or before April 30.
(3) 
A candidate to be an elected official:
(a) 
May file the statement required under § 23-6B(2)(a) of this chapter with the County or Board of Election Supervisors with the certificate of candidacy or with the Board prior to filing the certificate of candidacy; and
(b) 
Shall file the statements required under § 23-6B(2)(b) and (c) with the Board.
(4) 
If a candidate fails to file a statement required by this section after written notice is provided by the County or Board of Election Supervisors at least 20 days before the last day for the withdrawal of candidacy, the candidate is deemed to have withdrawn the candidacy.
(5) 
The County or Board of Election Supervisors may not accept any certificate of candidacy unless a statement has been filed in proper form.
(6) 
Within 30 days of the receipt of a statement required under this section, the County or Board of Election Supervisors shall forward the statement to the Board or the office designated by the Board.
C. 
The following appointed officials and employees shall file a financial disclosure statement on or before April 30 each year:
(1) 
Director of Administration.
(2) 
Director, officer or coordinator of the following County departments and agencies:
(a) 
Community Services;
(b) 
Economic Development;
(c) 
Human Relations Commission;
(d) 
Human Resources;
(e) 
Information and Communications Technology;
(f) 
Inspections, Licenses and Permits;
(g) 
The Director of the Library;
(h) 
Parks and Recreation;
(i) 
Planning and Zoning;
(j) 
Procurement;
(k) 
Public Works; and
(l) 
Treasury.
(3) 
County Attorney, Deputy County Attorney and Assistant County Attorneys.
(4) 
Council Administrator.
(5) 
County Council Attorney and Assistant Council Attorneys.
(6) 
Hearing examiners.
(7) 
People's Counsel.
(8) 
The members of the following County boards:
(a) 
The Citizens Nursing Home Board;
(b) 
The Office on Mental Health Core Service Agency of Harford County, Inc.;
(c) 
The Board of Estimates;
(d) 
The Board of Ethics;
(e) 
The Harford Center Board of Directors;
(f) 
The Board of Library Trustees;
(g) 
The Personnel Advisory Board; and
(h) 
The Planning Advisory Board.
(9) 
All employees in the classified service at Grade Level MG1 or above.
(10) 
Any other official, employee or appointee of the legislative branch of the County government whom the County Council designates by resolution.
D. 
Public record.
(1) 
The Board or office designated by the Board shall maintain all financial disclosure statements filed under this section.
(2) 
Financial disclosure statements shall be made available during normal office hours for examination and copying by the public subject to reasonable fees and administrative procedures established by the Board.
(3) 
If an individual examines or copies a financial disclosure statement, the Board or the office designated by the Board shall record:
(a) 
The name and home address of the individual reviewing or copying the statement; and
(b) 
The name of the person whose financial disclosure statement was examined or copied.
(4) 
Upon request by the official or employee whose financial disclosure statement was examined or copied, the Board or the office designated by the Board shall provide the official with a copy of the name and home address of the person who reviewed the official's financial disclosure statement.
E. 
Retention requirements. The Board or the office designated by the Board shall retain financial disclosures statements for four years from the date of receipt.
F. 
Contents of statement.
(1) 
Interests in real property.
(a) 
A statement filed under this section shall include a schedule of all interests in real property wherever located.
(b) 
For each interest in real property, the schedule shall include:
[1] 
The nature of the property and the location by street address, mailing address or legal description of the property;
[2] 
The nature and extent of the interest held, including any conditions and encumbrances on the interest;
[3] 
The date when, the manner in which and the identity of the person from whom the interest was acquired;
[4] 
The nature and amount of the consideration given in exchange for the interest or, if acquired other than by purchase, the fair market value of the interest at the time acquired;
[5] 
If any interest was transferred, in whole or in part, at any time during the reporting period, a description of the interest transferred, the nature and amount of the consideration received for the interest and the identity of the person to whom the interest was transferred; and
[6] 
The identity of any other person with an interest in the property.
(2) 
Interests in corporations and partnerships.
(a) 
A statement filed under this section shall include a schedule of all interests in any corporation, partnership, limited liability partnership or limited liability corporation, regardless of whether the corporation or partnership does business with the County.
(b) 
For each interest reported under this paragraph, the schedule shall include:
[1] 
The name and address of the principal office of the corporation, partnership, limited liability partnership or limited liability corporation;
[2] 
The nature and amount of the interest held, including any conditions and encumbrances on the interest;
[3] 
With respect to any interest transferred, in whole or in part, at any time during the reporting period, a description of the interest transferred, the nature and amount of the consideration received for the interest and, if known, the identity of the person to whom the interest was transferred; and
[4] 
With respect to any interest acquired during the reporting period:
[a] 
The date when, the manner in which and the identity of the person from whom the interest was acquired; and
[b] 
The nature and the amount of the consideration given in exchange for the interest or, if acquired other than by purchase, the fair market value of the interest at the time acquired.
(c) 
An individual may satisfy the requirement to report the amount of the interest held under Item (b)[2] of this paragraph by reporting, instead of a dollar amount:
[1] 
For an equity interest in a corporation, the number of shares held and, unless the corporation's stock is publicly traded, the percentage of equity interest held; or
[2] 
For an equity interest in a partnership, the percentage of equity interest held.
(3) 
Interests in business entities doing business with the County.
(a) 
A statement filed under this section shall include a schedule of all interests in any business entity that does business with the County, other than interests reported under Paragraph (2) of this subsection.
(b) 
For each interest reported under this paragraph, the schedule shall include:
[1] 
The name and address of the principal office of the business entity;
[2] 
The nature and amount of the interest held, including any conditions to and encumbrances in the interest;
[3] 
With respect to any interest transferred, in whole or in part, at any time during the reporting period, a description of the interest transferred, the nature and amount of the consideration received in exchange for the interest and, if known, the identity of the person to whom the interest was transferred; and
[4] 
With respect to any interest acquired during the reporting period:
[a] 
The date when, the manner in which and the identity of the person from whom the interest was acquired; and
[b] 
The nature and the amount of the consideration given in exchange for the interest or, if acquired other than by purchase, the fair market value of the interest at the time acquired.
(4) 
Gifts.
(a) 
A statement filed under this section shall include a schedule of each gift in excess of $20 in value or a series of gifts totaling $100 or more received during the reporting period from or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, any one person who does business with or is regulated by the County.
(b) 
For each gift reported, the schedule shall include:
[1] 
A description of the nature and value of the gift; and
[2] 
The identity of the person from whom, or on behalf of whom, directly or indirectly, the gift was received.
(5) 
Employment with or interests in entities doing business with the County.
(a) 
A statement filed under this section shall include a schedule of all offices, directorships and salaried employment by the individual or member of the immediate family of the individual (hereinafter defined to mean his/her spouse and dependent child) held at any time during the reporting period with entities doing business with the County.
(b) 
For each position reported under this paragraph, the schedule shall include:
[1] 
The name and address of the principal office of the business entity;
[2] 
The title and nature of the office, directorship or salaried employment held and the date it commenced; and
[3] 
The name of each County agency with which the entity is involved.
(6) 
Indebtedness to entities doing business with the County.
(a) 
A statement filed under this section shall include a schedule of all liabilities, excluding retail credit accounts, to persons doing business with the County owed at any time during the reporting period:
[1] 
By the individual; or
[2] 
By a member of the immediate family of the individual if the individual was involved in the transaction giving rise to the liability.
(b) 
For each liability reported under this paragraph, the schedule shall include:
[1] 
The identity of the person to whom the liability was owed and the date the liability was incurred;
[2] 
The amount of the liability owed as of the end of the reporting period;
[3] 
The terms of payment of the liability and the extent to which the principal amount of the liability was increased or reduced during the year; and
[4] 
The security given, if any, for the liability.
(7) 
A statement filed under this section shall include a schedule of the immediate family members of the individual employed by the County in any capacity at any time during the reporting period.
(8) 
Sources of earned income.
(a) 
A statement filed under this section shall include a schedule of the name and address of each place of employment and of each business entity of which the individual or a member of the individual's immediate family was a sole or partial owner and from which the individual or member of the individual's immediate family received earned income, at any time during the reporting period.
(b) 
A minor child's employment or business ownership need not be disclosed if the agency that employs the individual does not regulate, exercise authority over or contract with the place of employment or business entity of the minor child.
(9) 
A statement filed under this section may also include a schedule of additional interests or information that the individual making the statement wishes to disclose.
G. 
For the purposes of § 23-6F(1), (2) and (3) of this chapter, the following interests are considered to be the interests of the individual making the statement:
(1) 
An interest held by a member of the individual's immediate family, if the interest was, at any time during the reporting period, directly or indirectly controlled by the individual.
(2) 
An interest held by a business entity in which the individual held a 30% or greater interest at any time during the reporting period.
(3) 
An interest held by a trust or an estate in which, at any time during the reporting period:
(a) 
The individual held a reversionary interest or was a beneficiary; or
(b) 
If a revocable trust, the individual was a settlor.
H. 
(1) 
The Board shall review the financial disclosure statements submitted under this section for compliance with the provisions of this section and shall notify an individual submitting the statement of any omissions or deficiencies.
(2) 
The Harford County Ethics Board may take appropriate enforcement action to ensure compliance with this section.
A. 
A person shall file a lobbying registration statement with the Board if the person:
(1) 
Personally appears before a County official or employee with the intent to influence that person in performance of the official duties of the official or employee; and
(2) 
In connection with the intent to influence, expends or reasonably expects to expend in a given calendar year in excess of $100 on food, entertainment or other gifts for officials or employees of the County.
B. 
A person shall file a registration statement required under this section on or before the later of January 15 of the calendar year or within 5 days after first performing an act that requires registration in the calendar year.
C. 
(1) 
The registration statement shall identify:
(a) 
The registrant;
(b) 
Any other person on whose behalf the registrant acts; and
(c) 
The subject matter on which the registrant proposes to make appearances specified in Subsection A of this section.
(2) 
The registration statement shall cover a defined registration period not to exceed one calendar year.
D. 
Within 30 days after the end of any calendar year during which a person was registered under this section, the person shall file a report with the Board disclosing:
(1) 
The value, date and nature of any food, entertainment or other gift provided to a County official or employee; and
(2) 
If a gift or series of gifts to a single official or employee exceeds $100 in value, the identity of the official or employee.
E. 
The Board shall maintain the registrations and reports filed under this section as public records available for public inspection and copying for four years after receipt by the Board.
The Board may grant exemptions and modifications to the provisions of §§ 23-5 and 23-6C of this chapter to former officials, employees and to appointed members of Harford County boards and commissions, when the Board finds that an exemption or modification would not be contrary to the purposes of this chapter, and the application of this chapter would:
A. 
Constitute an unreasonable invasion of privacy; and
B. 
Significantly reduce the availability of qualified persons for public service.
A. 
The Board may:
(1) 
Assess a late fee of $2 per day up to a maximum of $250 for a failure to timely file a financial disclosure statement required under §§ 23-5 or 23-6 of this chapter;
(2) 
Assess a late fee of $10 per day up to a maximum of $250 for a failure to file a timely lobbyist registration or lobbyist report required under § 23-7 of this chapter; and
(3) 
Issue a cease and desist order against any person found to be in violation of this chapter.
B. 
(1) 
Upon a finding of a violation of any provision of this chapter, the Board may:
(a) 
Issue an order of compliance directing the respondent to cease and desist from the violation;
(b) 
Issue a reprimand; or
(c) 
Recommend to the appropriate authority other appropriate discipline of the respondent, including censure or removal if that discipline is authorized by law.
(2) 
If the Board finds that a respondent has violated § 23-7 of this chapter, the Board may:
(a) 
Require a respondent who is a registered lobbyist to file any additional reports or information that reasonably relate to the information that is required under § 23-7 of this chapter;
(b) 
Impose a fine not exceeding $5,000 for each violation; and
(c) 
Suspend the registration of an individual registered lobbyist if the Board finds that the lobbyist has knowingly and willfully violated § 23-7 of this chapter or has been convicted of a criminal offense arising from lobbying activities.
C. 
(1) 
Upon request of by the Board, the County Attorney may file a petition for injunctive or other relief in the Circuit Court of Harford County, or in any other court having proper venue for the purpose of requiring compliance with the provisions of this chapter.
(2) 
(a) 
The court may:
[1] 
Issue an order to cease and desist from the violation;
[2] 
Except as provided in Subparagraph (b) of this paragraph, void an official action taken by an official or employee with a conflict of interest prohibited by this chapter when the action arises from or concerns the subject matter of the conflict and if the legal action is brought within 90 days of the occurrence of the official action, if the court deems voiding the action to be in the best interest of the public; or
[3] 
Impose a fine of up to $5,000 for any violation of the provisions of this chapter, with each day upon which the violation occurs constituting a separate offense.
(b) 
A court may not void any official action appropriating public funds, levying taxes or providing for the issuance of bonds, notes or other evidences of public obligations.
D. 
In addition to any other enforcement provisions in this chapter, a person who the Board or a court finds has violated this chapter:
(1) 
Is subject to termination or other disciplinary action; and
(2) 
May be suspended from receiving payment of salary or other compensation pending full compliance with the terms of an order of the Board or a court.
E. 
A County official or employee found to have violated this chapter is subject to disciplinary or other appropriate personnel action, including removal from office, disciplinary action, suspension of salary or other sanction.
F. 
Violation of § 23-7 of this chapter shall be a misdemeanor subject to a fine of up to $10,000 or imprisonment of up to one year.
G. 
A finding of a violation of this chapter by the Board is public information.
By July 1 of each year, the Director of Human Resources shall submit to the County Council and County Executive a report detailing the training provided to each individual subject to the provisions of this chapter.