(4/5) Earlier this year, when Mayor
Martin Burns asked for citizens to let him
know whether or not they approved of the
potential Myers Farm annexation, Planning and
Zoning Commission Member Randy Cubbedge said
he did and signed the straw poll for himself
and his family.
Someone who was standing nearby and heard
him express his position to the mayor took
exception and filed an ethics complaint
against Cubbedge. The town’s ethics committee
heard the case on Feb. 26 and voted on it at
the time. However, Cubbedge had to wait three
weeks before being notified of the decision.
“I was exonerated,” Cubbedge said.
The two-page opinion from the ethics
commission says the committee looked at
prohibited activities covered by the ethics
ordinance and “found the activities described
in the complaint did not violate any of the
provisions of this section of the ordinance.”
“I’m very glad to know as a citizen that I
can express my opinion on a controversial
subject in Thurmont,” Cubbedge said.
Because of his experience with the ethics
commission, on Mar. 20, Cubbedge asked two
things of the town commissioners. 1) That they
put together a workshop between the town
attorney and the citizen committees to explain
to them what their obligations and restraints
are under the town’s ethics ordinance. 2) That
when the commission makes a decision, they let
the subject of the complaint know the outcome.
In Cubbedge’s case, though the commission
voted on Feb. 26, Cubbedge did not receive
notice of that vote until Mar. 20.
“I spent three weeks of wondering if what I
had done was in violation. It’s not a good
feeling,” Cubbedge said.
The commissioners agreed that both requests
were good ideas that they would follow-up on.
Following Cubbedge’s request, Burns noted
that Cubbedge’s ethics case was a symptom of a
problem on the planning and zoning commission.
Two factions within the committee are so
entrenched in their positions that they aren’t
willing to compromise.
Burns said instead of trying to work
together, they are “throwing it to the ethics
committee trying to get them [opposing
He encouraged the committee members to
compromise. They might not get everything they
want, but they can at least get something that
would acceptable. The planning and zoning
commission is in the middle of considering two
possible large annexations into the town and
drawing up the new town master plan that will
guide growth for the next 25 years.