www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/sun-investigates/bs-md-co-ethics-closed-meeting-20130604,0,6315309.story

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Balto. Co. ethics commission won't say whether Olszewski omissions discussed

Councilman omitted outside jobs on required reports

By Alison Knezevich, The Baltimore Sun

8:34 PM EDT, June 4, 2013

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The chairman of the Baltimore County Ethics Commission declined to say whether members, meeting Tuesday in a closed session, had discussed Councilman John Olszewski Sr.'s omissions on financial disclosure forms.

"Under the county code, we're unable to," Chairman Ben Polakoff said after the commission emerged from a two-hour closed session. "It's confidential."

Olszewski, a Dundalk Democrat first elected in 1998, recently filed amended financial disclosure forms dating back to 2009 because he had not previously reported his outside employment. He was employed by several companies during that period, including a contractor that was awarded a $3.1 million contract for work at the new high school being built in Dundalk.

Public officials are required to disclose their outside employment on their annual disclosure forms.

Last week, the ethics commission's executive director, Elaine Katz, said the panel was likely to discuss the councilman's financial disclosure records, but said she could not comment on what action, if any, the group would take.

She and Polakoff said the law does not allow them to disclose whether anyone has filed an ethics complaint against the councilman. If the commission concludes that a public official has violated ethics laws, those findings then become public, Polakoff said.

On Tuesday, the five-member commission met briefly in a public session before closing the meeting to discuss an advisory opinion request and potential ethics violations. They cited county law allowing them to hold certain discussions in private.

The panel's next meeting is scheduled for Aug. 6.

alisonk@baltsun.com

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