(11/17/2004) Thurmont's Ethics Commission has reached a decision on the
investigation related to Commissioner Wayne Hooper's utility bills and the
report should be released shortly, according to the town's attorney.
Town attorney and advisor to the commission Debra Borden of Board and Borden
in Frederick said the commission is currently working on its final report.
Mayor Martin Burns said Tuesday he has been advised that the decision is
coming soon, but was not aware of what the decision would be.
The original investigation by attorney Board was done at the request of town
commissioners when it was learned that Hooper had overdue electric bills
totaling the equivalent of about three years of missed payments.
His power was never turned off, while other residents with overdue bills did
have their electricity shut off during the same time period.
Town resident John Ashbury requested a review by the town's Ethics
Commission because the town's own attorney completed the investigation, which
Ashbury contended was a conflict of interest since the town commissioners pay
Borden said the commission held two meetings during which the commission met
to create policies and procedures in a public session.
The commission interviewed Ashbury, who filed the request for an
investigation and reviewed the investigation report by attorney Board, Borden
Attorney Board's report found that Hooper did not use the influence of his
office to stop his power from being turned off.