The Maryland General Assembly's ethics committee is recommending a public reprimand of Baltimore County Del. Jay Jalisi for "an ongoing pattern of bullying and abusive workplace behavior." Lawmakers are receiving a 16-page report on the Democratic delegate. It says he abused and bullied his staff.
According to the report, he refused to approve overtime worked by his staff and required one employee to stand in the office and repeat: “I am incompetent. I am incompetent.” The delegate also filed an ethics complaint against a witness who spoke to the ethics committee, which the committee determined “constituted retaliation against the witness.”
Jalisi issued a statement overnight Monday saying he was not properly informed of the complaints against him and that his due process rights “were consistently violated.”
Jalisi took exception to House Speaker Michael Busch’s decision to forbid the delegate from having any staff paid by the General Assembly. As complaints about Jalisi mounted over the years, Busch required Jalisi to participate in an anger management program. When Jalisi did not do so, Busch decided to stop paying for the delegate’s staff.
“It should be noted that the Maryland assembly has a long-standing precedence that even when a member has been reprimanded or censured by it, their staff still gets paid,” Jalisi wrote in his statement.
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Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, chairwoman of the Maryland Democratic Party, issued a statement saying that the ethics findings were "disappointing."
"We are a party of inclusiveness and mutual respect,” she said. “I support the decision of the House and expect that this will serve as a wakeup call to all lawmakers that staff mistreatment is completely unacceptable.”
The House is expected to consider reprimanding Jalisi on Wednesday.
A reprimand amounts to a public rebuke of a lawmaker by their colleagues. It is a less serious form of discipline than a censure, which was the punishment given to Del. Mary Ann Lisanti of Harford County earlier this year for her alleged use of a racial slur during a private gathering of lawmakers. The most serious form of discipline in the General Assembly is expulsion.