The Montgomery County legislature voted unanimously to appoint former legislator Terry Bieniek as the county’s Democratic election commissioner at Tuesday’s regular meeting. The position has been vacant since Jamie Duchessi left the position in December 2016. According to the resolution, the appointment was made after a committee review and on the recommendation of the Democratic party. The appointment will begin on July 1. Until that time, Caroline Swartz, the Democratic deputy commissioner, will cover the position.
During the discussion period on the resolution, Legislator Martin Kelly directed a question to County Attorney Meghan Manion.
“Counsel, is this OK with the ethics policy and such?” Kelly asked.
Manion replied, “As far as local law, this would be consistent.”
Kelly said after the meeting that he wanted to make sure that the appointment did not violate the county’s “revolving door” ethics policy given that Bieniek served as a county legislator from 2014 through 2016.
Asked for clarification after the meeting, Manion said that it was up to the county ethics board to issue opinions on matters of ethics.
The “revolving door” policy, contained in the county’s code of ethics reads:
A County officer or employee, after the termination of service or employment with such municipality, shall not appear before any board, agency, department or other administrative unit of the County of Montgomery in relation to any case, proceeding or application in which he or she personally participated, worked on and/or voted on during the period of his or her service or employment or which was under his or her active consideration for a period of two years.