www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/sun-investigates/bs-md-co-olszewski-ethics-20130603,0,4648324.story

baltimoresun.com

Balto. Co. ethics panel to discuss Olszewski omissions

Councilman failed to report outside employment with county contractor

By Alison Knezevich, The Baltimore Sun

10:54 AM EDT, June 3, 2013

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A Baltimore County councilman's failure to disclose his outside employment has drawn the attention of the county ethics board, whose director says she expects the issue to come up at this week's meeting.

Councilman John Olszewski Sr., a Dundalk Democrat, had not been reporting his outside jobs before he recently filed amended reports going back to 2009. His private employment included work in 2010 with the Sparrows Point contractor D&M Painting and Drywall, which has a $3.1 million contract with the county school system for a new high school being built in Dundalk.

The five-member Ethics Commission is scheduled to meet Tuesday as part of its regular schedule.

Elaine Katz, the commission's executive director, said the law does not allow her to say whether anyone has filed an ethics complaint against the councilman. All complaints and investigations are confidential until resolved, she said.

"I'm quite sure it will be brought up, if for no other reason than it has been in the press," Katz said. "What if anything our commission will do, I can't answer that."

The commission can bring its own complaint against an official, but that also is confidential, she said. The panel can seek fines of up to $1,000 for each violation of the county ethics law.

Olszewski, who had called his omissions "a mistake" and "an oversight," filed amended reports in May. "I did what I needed to do," he said last week. "I fixed the forms."

He now works for the contracting company Mason & Son LLC.

Olszewski had worked at the port of Baltimore for more than 20 years, until 2010, he said. He did not report that work on his forms dating back to 2006, the oldest ethics records the law office has available.

County Attorney Mike Field had advised Olszewski that he only needed to file amended reports dating to 2009 because the law office is required to hold ethics forms for four years.

Council members and other public officials are required to file annual financial disclosure forms that include information on any outside employment.

"The commission does pay attention to everything," Katz said. "They take their positions very seriously."

The meeting is open to the public, but the commissioners may go into closed session to discuss cases.

alisonk@baltsun.com

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