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Ethics complaints against Foote, Farrell received by state

May 31st, 2019 by WCBC Radio

The Cumberland Times News reports formal ethics complaints have been submitted to state officials regarding conflicts of interest for Allegany County school board member Wayne Foote and president Robert Farrell. 

However, it appears, for now at least, the grievances landed in the wrong hands.

The Maryland Board of Education on Friday provided the Cumberland Times-News two orders that state requests for declaratory ruling are “hereby dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.”

The first order, dated April 23, addresses a request from board member Tammy Fraley.

“Specifically, Ms. Fraley argues that two board members violated conflict of interest provisions contained in local, county, and state ethics laws by voting on the selection of new board legal counsel at a time when both board members had pending legal issues involving the board and school system,” the order states. “She seeks a declaration as to whether the board members violated the ethics law and whether their votes should be reversed as to the selection of legal counsel because of conflicts of interest.” Fraley’s request does not fall under “public school law(s) or regulations(s) of the state (education) board,” the order states.

“The state ethics commission has jurisdiction over the ethics laws,” the order states. 

That statement also applies to the second order, dated May 21, which pertains to a request from Nayano Taylor-Neumann “on behalf of 29 other individuals and one organization” who asked:

• Whether (Farrell) has a general conflict of interest and cannot be impartial?

• Whether Farrell has a specific conflict of interest in selecting board counsel?

• Whether Foote has a specific conflict of interest in selecting board counsel?

The order notes that the Allegany County Board of Education Ethics Panel opined on March 7 that “any involvement … allows Mr. Farrell to assist in choosing the individual who will advise the board in Mr. Farrell's ongoing litigation against superintendent Cox and the Allegany County Board of Education.”

Farrell has a “conflict of interest … and, as a result, should recuse himself from the selection process,” the local ethics panel stated and added that the state board officially filed charges against Foote.

“Mr. Foote and Mr. Farrell apparently have ignored the opinion of the ethics panel,” the order states. “Yet, even that action does not create jurisdiction in this board to provide ethics advice through a declaratory ruling.”

3 Responses to “Ethics complaints against Foote, Farrell received by state”

  1. May 31, 2019 at 7:39 pm, Rob Connor said:

    Am I the only one thinking that the “Old Guard” at the BOE is taking lessons from the DNC on how to eliminate their enemies?


    • May 31, 2019 at 8:04 pm, kevin said:

      > Yes, using the law to hold people accountable legally for breaking the law and having clear conflicts is a brilliant strategy! It works pretty well too. It is amazing people with an appreciation for law, accountability and ethics can get elected here – but there it is! It still happens.


  2. June 01, 2019 at 7:21 am, mac said:

    And so ends the latest chapter in the saga that is; Our Board of Education.
    But stay tuned as there are voices in the Board offices saying; We will take this to the highest court in the land so I can’t be bothered with any audits at this time.


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