In the wake of Jack Evans’ ongoing ethics scandal, the Metro Board is set to change conflict of interest rules to increase required disclosures and promise a public accounting of any future ethics violations.
The changes to be formally approved in coming weeks would expand the Metro Board disclosure form and shift responsibility for most ethics investigations of Metro Board members from outside lawyers hired by the Ethics Committee to Metro’s Office of Inspector General.
All results of the investigation, including any discipline or lack thereof, would be required to be made public.
An apparent attempt to cover up a finding against Evans contributed not only to Evans’ resignation from the Metro Board in June, but also to fellow D.C. Metro Board member Corbett Price resigning last month shortly after the current Ethics Committee met behind closed doors.
The committee could also be expanded to five members to avoid deadlocks, and any detailed investigations would be referred to the full board instead of being handled solely by the committee.
Tom Bulger, a Metro Board alternate for the District, suggested that those responsible for appointing board members should review disclosure forms as a backup.
Metro’s ethics policy changes would broaden the definition of a conflict of interest, and recommend that board members ask the legal staff for guidance when there is any question.
The need to recuse from a vote or simply disclose any financial or other interests would be handled on a case-by-case basis.
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