Ethics Commission Havre de GraceGovernmentBoards & CommissionsEthics Commission Appointment-Application Meets – As needed Council Liaison: David Martin Current Members: Norman Obenshain 2/6/2017 2/6/2020 George Cardona 8/6/2018 8/6/2021 John P. Correri Jr 2/6/2017 2/6/2022 William Watson 2/6/2017 2/6/2020 Jim Horn 1/17/2018 1/17/2021 § 67-1. Definitions. The words used in this chapter shall have their normal accepted meanings except as set forth below: BUSINESS ENTITY — Any corporation, general or limited partnership, sole proprietorship, limited-liability partnership or corporation, private consultant operation, joint venture, unincorporated association or firm, institution, trust, foundation or other organization, whether or not operated for profit. CITY — The Mayor and City Council of Havre de Grace, a municipal corporation of the State of Maryland. COMMISSION — The Havre de Grace Ethics Commission established pursuant to this chapter. 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 service rendered. DOING BUSINESS WITH — A. Having or negotiating a contract that involves the commitment or receipt of City or City-controlled funds; or B. Being regulated by or otherwise under the authority of the City. FINANCIAL INTEREST — A. Ownership of any interest as the result of which the owner has received $1,000, within the past year, or is presently receiving, or in the future is entitled to receive, compensation; or B. Ownership, or the ownership of securities of any kind representing or convertible into 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 regulated in accordance with the provisions of the Election Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland, or any other provision of state or Harford County law regulating the conduct of elections or the receipt of political campaign contributions. Notwithstanding the above, “gift” includes any transfer in the aggregate from one person greater than $100 for the reporting period to any elected official or candidate for elected office in a City election. Campaign contributions are a separate form of gift that elected officials or candidates for elected office shall disclose. INTEREST — Any legal or equitable economic interest, whether or not subject to an encumbrance or a condition, which was owned or held, in whole or in part, jointly or severally, directly or indirectly. For purposes of this chapter, “interest” applies to any interests held at any time during the reporting period. “Interest” does not include: A. An interest held in the capacity of a personal agent, representative, custodian, fiduciary or trustee, unless 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 policy, 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. A common trust fund or a trust which forms part of a pension or profit-sharing plan which has more than 25 participants and which has been determined by the Internal Revenue Service to be a qualified trust or college savings plan. OFFICIAL or EMPLOYEE — Any person elected to, appointed to or employed by the City or any City agency, board, commission or similar entity, whether or not paid, in whole or in part, with City funds and whether or not compensated. PERSON — Includes an individual or business entity. QUALIFIED RELATIVE — A spouse, parent, child or sibling. § 67-2. Ethics Commission; filing complaints; amendments. A. There is a Havre de Grace Ethics Commission which shall consist of five members, appointed by the Mayor with the consent of the City Council. A member must be a citizen of the United States for not less than 10 years and a resident and qualified voter in the City of Havre de Grace for not less than five years prior to appointment. The term of office is five years; however, the initial members will be appointed to terms of one, two, three, four and five years, respectively. B. The Commission shall be the advisory body responsible for interpreting this chapter and advising persons subject to it as to its application. C. Any official or other person subject to the provisions of this chapter may request from the Commission an advisory opinion concerning the application of this chapter. The Commission shall respond promptly to these requests, providing interpretations of this chapter based on the facts provided or reasonably available to it. D. The Commission shall 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. E. The Commission shall be responsible for evaluating, hearing and deciding any complaint filed regarding an alleged violation of this chapter by any person. F. The Commission shall develop procedures and policies for the processing of complaints to make appropriate determinations regarding complaints filed by any person alleging violations of this chapter. G. The Commission shall be the custodian of all forms submitted by any person in accordance with this chapter. The Commission shall draft and distribute the forms required by this chapter in conjunction with the Director of Administration and the Board of Election supervisors where applicable. H. The Commission shall be responsible for conducting a public information and education program regarding the purpose and implementation of this chapter. I. The City Attorney shall be the legal advisor for the Commission. J. Any person may file with the Commission a complaint alleging a violation of any of the provisions of this chapter which is alleged to have occurred within a year of the filing of the complaint. Complaints dating more than a year after the alleged event shall be dismissed. All complaints shall be written and under oath. If after an initial evaluation and preparing an investigative report, the Commission determines that there are insufficient facts upon which to base a determination of a violation, or if the complainant withdraws its complaint or fails to appear at any scheduled hearing in the matter, the Commission shall dismiss the complaint. If after an initial evaluation the Commission determines that there is a reasonable basis for believing a violation has occurred, the subject of the complaint shall be afforded an opportunity for a hearing conducted in accordance with the City’s applicable rules of procedure for actions taken on the record. Any final determination resulting from the hearing shall include findings of fact and conclusions of law. Once a complaint is filed with the Commission, all actions regarding a complaint shall be treated confidentially. K. The Commission shall certify to the State Ethics Commission on or before October 1 of each year that the City is in compliance with the requirements of the State Government Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland for elected local officials. L. The Commission shall determine if changes to this chapter are required to be in compliance with the requirements of the State Government Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland, and shall forward any recommended changes and amendments to the City Council for enactment. M. The Commission may adopt other policies and procedures to assist in the implementation of this chapter. § 67-3. Prohibited Conduct; Conflicts of Interest. A. Application. All City elected officials, City officials that are appointed or hired by the City, officials appointed to the designated City boards and commissions in this chapter and City employees are subject to this section. B. Participation in matters where an association is prohibited. Except where permitted by Commission regulation or permitted by opinion or except in the exercise of an administrative or ministerial duty which does not affect the disposition or decision in the matter, it shall be prohibited for an official or employee to knowingly participate in: (1) Any matter of which he/she may be reasonably expected to know that concerns a qualified relative or in which a qualified relative of the official or employee has an interest. (2) Any matter of which he/she may be reasonably expected to know when any of the following is a party thereto: (a) Any business entity in which the official, employee or his/ her qualified relative has a financial interest; (b) Any business entity of which the official, employee or his/her qualified relative is an officer, director, trustee, partner or employee; (c) Any business entity which is a party to an existing contract with the official, employee or his/her qualified relative if the contract could reasonably be expected to result in a conflict between the private interests of the official or employee and his/her official duties; (d) Any entity, doing business with the City in which a financial interest is owned by another entity in which the official, employee or his/her qualified relative has a financial interest; (e) Any business entity which the official or employee knows is a creditor or obligee of the official, employee or his/ her qualified relative, with respect to a thing of economic value and which, by reason thereof, is in a position to affect directly and substantially the interest of the official, employee or his/her qualified relative; or (f) A business entity with which the official, employee or his/her qualified relative is negotiating or has any arrangement concerning prospective employment. (3) If a disqualification leaves any body with less than a quorum capable of acting, or if the disqualified official or employee is required by law to act or is the only person authorized to act, the disqualified person shall disclose the nature and circumstances of the conflict and may participate or act. C. Employment restrictions. (1) Prohibitions. (a) Except as permitted by regulation or opinion of the Commission, and where such interest is disclosed or where the employment does not create a conflict of interest or appearance of conflict, it is prohibited for an official or employee to:  Be employed by, or have a financial interest in, any entity subject to his/her authority or that of the City agency, board or commission with which he/she is affiliated or any entity which is negotiating or has entered a contract or contracts with the City or the agency, board or commission with which the official or employee is affiliated; or  Have or maintain any other employment relationship which would impair the impartiality or independence of judgment of the official or employee. (b) This prohibition does not apply to:  An official or employee who is appointed to a regulatory or licensing authority pursuant to a requirement that persons subject to the jurisdiction of the authority be represented in appointments to the authority;  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 Commission; or  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 in accordance with regulations adopted by the Commission. D. Post-employment restrictions. A former official or employee may not assist or represent another party other than the City for compensation in a case, contract or other specific matter involving the City if that matter is one in which the former official or employee significantly participated as an official or employee. E. Legislative acts prohibited. For one year after the elected official leaves office, a former member of the City Council or the Mayor may not assist, or lobby for, or represent another party for compensation in a matter that is the subject of legislative action. [Amended 3-5-2018 by Ord. No. 998] F. Contingent or percentage fee restrictions. An official or employee may not assist or represent a party for contingent compensation or a percentage fee in any matter before or involving the City other than in a judicial or quasi-judicial proceeding. G. Use of prestige of office. An official or employee shall 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. This subsection does not prohibit performance of usual and customary constituent services by an elected official, without additional direct compensation. H. Solicitation or acceptance of gifts. (1) An official or employee shall not solicit any gift. (2) An official or employee shall not knowingly accept any gift, directly or indirectly, from any person that he/she knows or has reason to know: (a) Is doing business with the City office, agency, board or commission with which the official or employee is affiliated; or (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 his/her official duty. (c) Is engaged in an activity regulated or controlled by the official’s or employee’s governmental unit. I. Significant gifts prohibited. Notwithstanding the terms of this chapter, receipt of the following gifts is prohibited: (1) Those that would tend to impair the impartiality and the independence of judgment of the official or employee receiving the gift; (2) Those of such significant value that would give the appearance of impairing the impartiality and independence of judgment of the official or employee; or (3) Those of such significant value that the recipient official or employee believes or has reason to believe the gift was designed to impair the impartiality and independence of judgment of the official or employee. J. Minor gifts that are not prohibited. An official or employee may accept the following gifts: (1) Meals and beverages consumed in the presence of the donor or sponsoring entity; (2) Ceremonial gifts or awards which have insignificant monetary value; (3) Unsolicited gifts of nominal value that do not exceed $20 or trivial items of informational value; (4) 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 related to City business in a panel or speaking engagement at the meeting; (5) Gifts of tickets or free admission extended to an elected 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; (6) A specific gift or class of gifts which the Commission exempts from the operation of this section 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 City and that the gift is purely personal and private in nature to the official or employee; (7) Gifts from a qualified relative; or (8) 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 duties of the official or employee. K. Campaign contributions for City elections not prohibited. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this section, an official or candidate for elected office may solicit and accept campaign contributions in a City election. L. Disclosure of confidential information. Other than in the discharge of his/her official duties, an official or employee shall not disclose or use confidential information acquired by reason of his/her public position and which is not available to the public. M. Participation in procurement, bids or proposals. An official, employee, or a person that employs an individual that participates in the drafting of specifications, an invitation for bids, or a request for proposals for a procurement for the City or an agency, board or commission may not submit a bid or proposal for that procurement, or assist or represent another person, directly or indirectly, in the submission of a bid or proposal for the procurement. The Commission may establish exemptions from the requirements of this section for providing descriptive literature, sole source procurements, and written comments requested during the procurement process. N. Duty to disclose or recuse. An official or employee shall disclose known conflicts of interest or potential conflicts of interest in connection with any specific proposed action by the official or employee sufficiently in advance of the action to prevent a violation or recuse himself/herself or make such other arrangements to avoid a conflict of interest and, where appropriate, make the disclosure to the public. O. Exemption and waiver standards. The Commission may grant exemptions or modifications of this section for any official or employee that is appointed or serving as a member of a board or commission, but not an elected official or candidate when it finds that the application of this section would constitute an unreasonable invasion of privacy; significantly reduce the availability of qualified persons for public service; and that the exemption, waiver or modification would not be contrary to the purposes of this chapter. § 67-4. Interests, gifts and campaign contribution disclosure. A. Application. This section applies to all elected City officials and candidates for elected City office. (1) All City elected officials or a candidate to be a local elected official shall file the gifts and campaign contribution statements required under this section: (a) On the forms provided by the Board of Election Supervisors and/or the Commission; (b) Under oath or affirmation; and (c) With the Board of Election Supervisors and/or the Commission. (2) A City elected official or candidate for office subject to produce, without the need for a subpoena, an interests disclosure statement required under this section (“Interests Disclosure Form”). The Interests Disclosure Form shall be completed and produced to the Commission; the elected official or candidate will sign and date a written acknowledgement that he/she received the Interests Disclosure Form for completion. (3) Deadlines for filing statements. (a) An incumbent local elected official shall file the gifts and campaign contributions statements annually no later than the third Tuesday of March of each year for the preceding calendar year or with his/her certificate for candidacy, whichever is earliest. (b) An individual who is appointed to fill a vacancy in an elected office shall file the gifts and campaign contributions statements for the preceding calendar year, prior to being sworn into office. (c) For elected officials or a candidate for elected office, an Interests Disclosure Form for the preceding calendar year shall be produced to the Commission on the form provided by the Commission automatically. (4) Candidates for an elected City office. (a) All candidates for an elected City office shall file the gifts and campaign contributions statements and, where applicable, the interests disclosure statement required under this section no later than the filing of the certificate of candidacy. (b) The statements required under this chapter shall be filed with the Board of Election Supervisors with the certificate of candidacy. (c) The Board of Election Supervisors shall not accept any certificate of candidacy unless the gifts and campaign contribution statements have been filed in proper form and the candidate has signed and dated the written acknowledgment that he/she received the Interests Disclosure Form. (d) Within 10 days of the receipt of a statement required under this section, the Board of Election Supervisors shall forward the statement to the Commission or the office designated by the Commission. B. Record of disclosure statements and maintenance. (1) The Commission or office designated by the Commission and the Board of Election Supervisors shall maintain all disclosure statements filed under this section: Gifts Disclosure Form; Campaign Contribution Disclosure Form and Interests Disclosure Form. (2) Gifts Disclosure Forms, Campaign Contribution Forms and Interests Disclosure Forms are available for public inspection during normal business hours. The remaining requirements for disclosure apply. (3) To examine the Gifts Disclosure Form, Campaign Contribution Form or the Interests Disclosure Form, an individual must appear in person before the Commission or its designee and comply with any other reasonable requirements or procedures established by the Commission. (4) Where an individual requests to examine an Interests Disclosure Form, the Commission or the office designated by the Commission shall record: (a) The name, home address, telephone number and email address of the individual reviewing or copying the statement; (b) The name of the person whose Interests Disclosure Form was examined or copied; and (c) The reason for the request. (5) Where any type of form was requested to be examined, the Commission or the office designated by the Commission shall provide the official with a copy of the name, home address, telephone number and email address of the person who requested to review the official’s form. (6) Effective January 1, 2019, the home address on the filing or disclosure statement of any candidate for office shall be redacted from public disclosure. [Added 3-5-2018 by Ord. No. 998] C. Retention requirements. The Commission or the office designated by the Commission or the official or candidate shall retain Interests Disclosure Forms and Gifts Disclosure Forms and Campaign Contribution Disclosure Forms for two years from the date of receipt or completion. D. Contents of the Interests Disclosure Form for elected officials and candidates. On forms provided by the Commission, the following shall be listed: (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:  The nature of the property and the location by street address, mailing address, or legal description of the property;  The nature and extent of the interest held, including any conditions and encumbrances on the interest;  The date when, the manner in which, and the identity of the person from whom the interest was acquired;  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;  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  The identity of any other person with an interest in the property. (2) Interests in corporations, partnerships, or business entities. (a) All interests in any corporation, partnership, limited- liability partnership, limited-liability corporation, or business entity that is regulated by or does business with the City or any agency, board or commission of the City, providing:  The name and address of the principal office of the corporation, partnership, limited-liability partnership, or limited-liability corporation;  The nature and amount of the interest held, including any conditions and encumbrances on the interest;  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  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. (b) An individual may satisfy the requirement to report the amount of the interest held under this subsection by reporting, instead of a dollar amount:  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  For an equity interest in a partnership, the percentage of equity interest held. (3) Interests or employment within entities doing business with City. (a) A statement filed under this section shall include a schedule of all offices, directorships, and salaried employment by the individual or a qualified relative, but not siblings, held at any time during the reporting period with entities doing business with the City. (b) For each position reported under this subsection, the schedule shall include:  The name and address of the principal office of the business entity;  The title and nature of the office, directorship, or salaried employment held and the date it commenced; and  The name of each City agency, board or commission with which the entity is involved. (4) Indebtedness to persons or business entities doing business with City. (a) A statement filed under this section shall include a schedule of all liabilities owed, excluding retail credit or credit card accounts, to persons or business entities doing business with the City at any time during the reporting period:  By the elected official or candidate; or  By a qualified relative, but not siblings, of the individual elected official or candidate involved in the transaction giving rise to the liability. (b) For each liability reported under this subsection, the list shall include:  The identity of the person or business entity to which the liability was owed and the date the liability was incurred;  The amount of the liability owed as of the end of the reporting period;  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  The security given, if any, for the liability. (5) Qualified relatives employed by the City. A list of the qualified relatives of the elected official or candidate employed by the City in any capacity at any time during the reporting period shall be disclosed. (6) Sources of earned income. (a) A list of the name and address of the place of employment for the elected official or candidate and for each qualified relative, but not siblings, and each business entity which the elected official or candidate or his/her qualified relatives, but not siblings, were a sole or partial owner and from which they received earned income, at any time during the reporting period. (b) A minor child’s employment or business ownership need not be disclosed. (7) Judgments, suits, criminal and traffic record. A list of all unpaid money judgments, pending suits for money judgments, criminal and traffic cases providing case name, case number, jurisdiction and outcome shall be provided. E. Gifts disclosure form contents. (1) A statement filed under this section shall include a schedule of each gift which was not campaign contributions 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 City. (2) For each gift reported, the schedule shall include: (a) A description of the nature and value of the gift; and (b) The identity of the person from whom, or on behalf of whom, directly or indirectly, the gift was received. F. Campaign Contributions Disclosure Form contents. (1) A statement filed under this section shall include a schedule of each gift which was not campaign contributions in excess of $50 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: [Amended 3-5-2018 by Ord. No. 998] (a) Does business with the City or the members of City Council or Mayor or any official of the City; or (b) Is regulated by the City; or (c) Contracts with the City for $5,000 or more; or (d) Has financial interests distinguishable from the general public, that may be substantially and materially affected by the performance of the City or the Mayor and City Council or the Mayor or any official of the City, or from any official of the City; or (e) The candidate knows or reasonably should know has an employment relationship with any member of the City Council or the Mayor or any official of the City which would impair the impartiality or independent judgment of the candidate. (2) For each contribution reported, the schedule shall include: (a) The month the contribution was received; (b) The name of the contributor; and (c) The amount of the contribution. G. Voluntary disclosure. A statement filed under this section may also include a schedule of additional interests or information that the elected official or candidate wishes to disclose. H. Interests clarified. For the purposes of this chapter, the following interests are considered to be the interests of the elected official or candidate: (1) An interest held by a qualified relative, but not a sibling, if the interest was, at any time during the reporting period, directly or indirectly controlled by the elected official or candidate. (2) An interest held by a business entity in which the elected official or candidate 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 elected official or candidate held a reversionary interest or was a beneficiary, or (b) If a revocable trust, the elected official or candidate was a settlor. (4) An “interest” shall not include exchange traded funds, or ETFs, such as a diversified collection of assets like a mutual fund that trades on an exchange. [Added 3-5-2018 by Ord. No. 998] I. Review of disclosure forms. After receipt of any disclosure statements, the Commission shall privately review the disclosure statements submitted under this section for compliance with the provisions of this section and shall timely and privately notify an individual submitting the statement of any omissions or deficiencies. J. Enforcement. The City Ethics Commission may take appropriate enforcement action to ensure compliance with this section. § 67-5. Financial disclosure. A. Application. This section only applies to the following appointed officials and employees: (1) Director of Administration. (2) Director of Finance. (3) Director of Planning. (4) Director of Public Works. (5) Chief of Police. (6) City Attorney. (7) Any Hearing Examiner. (8) Any Special Counsel appointed. (9) Members of the following City boards and commissions: Board of Appeals, Ethics Commission, Marina Commission, Planning Commission, R.A.D. Loan Application Review Commission, Water and Sewer Commission. B. Gifts disclosed. A separate Gifts Disclosure Form provided by the Commission shall be filed by these appointed officials and employees with the Commission, under oath or affirmation, disclosing gifts in the same manner as elected officials. C. Due date. On or before April 30 of each year during which an official or employee holds office, an official or employee shall file a Gifts Disclosure Form statement disclosing gifts received during the preceding calendar year from any person or business entity that contracts with or is regulated by City, including the name of the donor of the gift and the approximate retail value at the time or receipt. D. Conflict of interest/ongoing duty. An official or employee shall disclose employment and financial interests that raise conflicts of interest or potential conflicts of interest during the calendar year in connection with any specific proposed action by the employee or official sufficiently in advance of the action to provide adequate disclosure to the public or the opportunity to recuse or make such other arrangements to avoid a conflict of interest. E. Record of statements. The Commission shall maintain all disclosure statements filed under this section. The same process and procedure for examination of disclosure statements provided for elected officials shall apply to the Gifts Disclosure Form under this section. Disclosure statements filed under this section shall be discarded after two years. F. Additional disclosures. The Commission may require the appointed officials and employees to complete and produce an Interests Disclosure Form, or any portion thereof, after receipt and evaluation of a complaint and a showing by the complainant that a reasonable basis for believing a violation of this section has occurred. § 67-6. Lobbying. The City has received an exemption from the State Ethics Commission; no lobbying law is required at this time. § 67-7. Enforcement; violations and penalties. A. The Commission, after initially evaluating a claim where the claimant must show that there is a reasonable basis for believing that a violation has occurred, and after conducting a hearing where the complainant has appeared and where the respondent has appeared or waived the right to appear and where clear and convincing evidence of a violation was shown by the complainant and found by the Commission by a unanimous vote, 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 this chapter; (2) Issue a cease and desist order against any person; (3) Issue an order of compliance directing the respondent; (4) Issue a reprimand; or (5) Recommend to the appropriate authority other appropriate discipline of the respondent, including censure or removal if that discipline is authorized by law. B. Upon unanimous request of the Commission, the City Attorney or an appointed special counsel 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. C. The Commission may file a declaratory action requesting that the court: (1) Issue an order to cease and desist from the violation; (2) 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; 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; D. Notwithstanding the above, the Commission may not request or seek to void any official action appropriating public funds, levying taxes, or providing for the issuance of bonds, notes, or other evidences of public obligations. E. Additional enforcement provisions. (1) In addition to any other enforcement provisions in this chapter, a person whom the Commission or a court finds has violated this chapter: (a) Is subject to suspension, termination, removal from office, removal from the ballot or other disciplinary action; and (b) May be suspended from receiving payment of salary or other compensation pending full compliance with the terms of an order of the Commission or a court. (2) A City official or employee found to have violated this chapter may be subject to disciplinary or other appropriate personnel action, including removal from office, disciplinary action, suspension of salary, or other sanction. (3) The findings of the Commission are public information, after the appeal time of the Commission’s decision has expired. F. Take no action and grant a waiver or exemption, even retroactively, from the provisions pursuant to the standard set in this section, where the violation was not intentional and the respondent complies with this section within the time provided by the Commission.