A three-member citizen advisory committee met Wednesday to help the Hall County Board of Commissioners fine-tune its code of ethics.
The temporary ethics committee was made up of local watchdogs Douglas Aiken, Scott Gibbs and Tommy Sandoval, who met solely to revise the ethics code provided by the Association County Commissioners of Georgia.
The Hall County Board of Commissioners voted Jan. 28 to adopt the ACCG ethics code, an over-arching document drafted for use by all county governments in the state.
The group will recommend the minor code changes to the commission at its next work session Monday.
The main issue the committee discussed was who would serve on a board to hear future ethics complaints and how they would be appointed.
The ACCG code allows counties to select either a permanent committee or an ad-hoc, or temporary, panel to deal with any ethics violations.
The committee agreed to recommend the commission establish a permanent ethics panel. The group felt two-year terms would be more appropriate than the four-year terms outlined in the ACCG document.
Sandoval said people would likely be more willing to serve on the committee if it was a shorter commitment.
Gibbs said he felt a permanent committee would make it easier to deal with any ethical issues.
“I think a permanent committee would be swifter,” he said.
Aiken said he would like to see each commissioner select four people who would agree to serve on the committee in the event of an ethical complaint to provide a large pool of potential members.
The final committee would be selected by a “special master,” an attorney not affiliated with the county in any way.
The special master is a position required by the ACCG code which the commission will need to appoint within the next month.
The committee also discussed who could be a potential member of the ethics committee. They agreed that no elected officials, board members or employees of groups that have any special interest with or receive funding from the board of commissioners would be eligible.