The discussion at Thursday afternoon’s county commission meeting is expected to turn to replacing a member of the ethics board. Ethics board member Dan Langford stepped down last month after a brief but controversial tenure with the county.
The controversy over the ethics board’s makeup seemed to center around Langford’s position as Mayor of Brooks and his dealings with the county on the municipality’s behalf.
County commission chairman Steve Brown, who has consistently been a critic of the makeup of the ethics board, was scheduled to have a hearing before the board on two ethics complaints lodged against him by former county commissioner Robert Horgan. Brown sent a memo to county clerk Floyd Jones regarding the board members saying he was asking for Langford’s abstention on the hearing, adding that he didn’t believe elected officials belonged on the ethics board.
Back in November 2012, the board of commissioners had to hastily populate the ethics board when a complaint was lodged against then-county attorney Scott Bennett.
Former commissioner Lee Hearn nominated Langford to serve for three years.
At his scheduled hearing on January 16, Langford after attempting to have the charges against Brown dropped, said,
“There has certainly been a cloud over my appointment to this committee that has not been of my own making. I’ve already included an open-end resignation to the board of commissioners. It is very clear Mr. Brown would like me to step down and, since I have had private emails from two other commissioners who have also asked me to step down, I don’t think anything would be serviced by my playing the game of making the commissioners accept my resignation. I will rely on those three requests. So I tender my resignation from the board, effective immediately and I thank you for the opportunity for having served.”
As the first alternate with the longer term, Laris Marks was appointed to fill Langford’s seat and the hearing was rescheduled for the following week to give Marks a chance to catch up on the charges.
Now, though, with Section 2-213(a)(7) of the Ethics Ordinance (Ordinance 2010-10) saying that "any vacancy in the membership shall be filled for the unexpired term in the same manner as the initial appointment,” it’s time to fill that last position.