(4/5) An ethics complaint against
Emmitsburg Commissioner William B. O’Neil, Jr. by former town planner has been
On Feb. 1, former Emmitsburg Town Planner
Michael Lucas sent an ethics complaint to Emmitsburg Ethics Commission Chairman
Ted Brennan “outlining how Emmitsburg Town Commissioner William B. O’Neil Jr.
while serving as a Town Commissioner did violate Section 2.32.030 of the
Emmitsburg Municipal Code (conflicts of interest) in an attempt to influence
public policy that would directly impact him as a private citizen. Moreover,
the complaint demonstrates how Commissioner O’Neil did violate his oath of
office, by providing deliberate and demonstrably false testimony before
officials of the Town of Emmitsburg.
The three-page complaint received a
two-paragraph response on Mar. 9 from town ethics commission attorney Harry
deMoll saying, “the complaint does not merit further proceedings.”
“The ethics commission looked at the
complaint and it did not raise any issue under the ethics ordinance,” deMoll
said in an interview.
Lucas said he wasn’t surprised at the
outcome and he expects to take the complaint to the Maryland State Ethics
“They (the town commission) did not say
the things I outlined weren’t true,” Lucas said. “They said they weren’t ethics
Lucas said he suspects that “the only way
to get to the truth is to get O’Neil under oath.”
Mayor Jim Hoover hopes this is the end of
case. “Mr. Lucas should reconsider the validity of the complaint and accept the
commission’s decision,” he said.
O’Neil said he never understood what the
basis for the complaint was about. He said it referred to a situation
concerning whether the town was taking responsibility for the road where O’Neil
lives. The complaint also dealt with statements O’Neil made concerning how town
staff handled the situation.
“The town at the time was asserting they
had not accepted the road and not plowing it,” O’Neil said. “They can’t say
they’re not accepting it and then ticket. The town attorney agreed with me and
my ticket was refunded.”
O’Neil, who has faced and is facing
similar situations, said he doesn’t like the way local politics has become
about personal destruction.
“My father believed in honor and integrity
and he gave me his good name. I also believe in honor and integrity and try to
live that way. This is just dragging that good name through the mud,” O’Neil
Read other news stories related to the Emmitsburg Town