Ethics Complaint Filed at Gaithersburg City Hall

Gaithersburg City Hall EntranceThe Gaithersburg Ethics Commission plans to meet behind closed doors on Thursday to review a complaint filed that alleges a violation of the city’s ethics ordinance.

Gaithersburg City Attorney Lynn Board said it’s the first ethics complaint on record, going back as far as 35 years.

Board would not disclose any information about the complaint, except that the city is bringing in outside counsel, Elissa Levan of Funk and Bolton, for the meeting.

Levan said she would be advising the Commission about establishing rules of procedure in open session. According to the agenda for the meeting, the Commission is then expected to call for a closed session to review the complaint.

The Ethics Commission is comprised of four members: Steven Blivess (an alternate member), Ian Kessler, Sally Marchessault (the chair), and Rebecca Smondrowski. The members are city residents and cannot be city employees. They are appointed by the mayor with the approval of the city council for three-year terms. Two members of the Commission constitute a quorum.

The city’s Ethics Code applies to all city employees, all elected officials, as well as officials appointed to some boards and commissions.

According to the Ethics Commission’s rules of procedures, a complaint must be filed in writing and signed under oath alleging a specific violation of a provision of the Ethics Code. The complaint must be filed within one year of the alleged violation.

Notice of the Jan. 5th Ethics Commission meeting and executive session has been posted on the city’s website, here. You can find more about the city’s Ethics Code online, here.

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Sonya Burke

About Sonya Burke

Sonya Burke is the Multimedia Manager at Montgomery Community Media (MCM). You can email story ideas at or reach her on Twitter @SonyaNBurke.


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