Danielle Hornberger is attempting to stack the Ethics Commission in her favor. The appointees on this Commission have staggered terms specifically to avoid this. We’re encouraging you to file a complaint with the State Prosecutor’s office. The script below is based off a letter sent by Cecil County resident, former Central Committee member, and former candidate for District 36 Delegate Michael Welker.
Information asked for by the form:
Danielle Hornberger (R)
County Administration Building
200 Chesapeake Blvd., Suite 2100
Elkton, Maryland 21921
Date issue began: January 14, 2021
My name is ___________, and I’m a resident of Cecil County Maryland.
Just a few weeks ago, our County Executive Danielle Hornberger fired the entire county Ethics Commission and attempted to install her own hand-picked board.
This is rather alarming and unprecedented, and the Ethics Commission is intended to be an independent body aimed at holding our government accountable. But if the County Executive has the power to change the Commission any time they want, despite what the County charter says, then it renders the Commission useless and potentially biased.
The County Charter states that members of the Commission are to serve out their terms to the end, and that they’re to be staggered terms. The intent of staggered terms is to prevent any one administration from stacking the Commission in their favor. What Mrs. Hornberger did is the very thing the staggered terms were created to prevent.
The reason this happened is the former Ethics Commission found one of our County Council members, Jackie Gregory, to be in a conflict of interest, as she works for the local public-school system while also serving on the County Council. Mrs. Gregory and Mrs. Hornberger are close friends, so Mrs. Hornberger fired the whole Ethics Commission to help Mrs. Gregory.
When the County Council voted this past week on the ethics appointees, they voted to reject them. The only council member to approve them was Mrs. Gregory.
We are concerned she will find a way to push this stacked Ethics Commission through regardless of the Council’s vote and the citizens’ concerns.
If this is allowed, then what is the point of having Democracy? We need the state to intervene. This is unacceptable.
It comes down to advocating for an open government. If we cannot rely on our local ethics committee to hold our government accountable, then we are at the whim of one person.
I hope you can do something to help.