City of College Park, Maryland

College Park Ethics Commission Advisory Opinions

Any person subject to Chapter 38, Ethics, of the Code of the City of College Park, may request an advisory opinion from the City's Ethics Commission concerning the application of the provisions of Chapter  38 or of Chapter 34, §§ 34-9 and 34-11 through 34-17 inclusive. Such request shall be in writing. The Commission shall respond to the request within 60 days, or as soon thereafter as is practical, provided that the Commission's interpretation of these provisions is based on the facts provided or reasonably available to it.

Requesting an Advisory Opinion
A request for an advisory opinion must be in writing (letter or email) to the College Park Ethics Commission, 4500 Knox Road, College Park, MD  20740, or by email to Please provide as much factual information as you have that might be relevant. Please include your day time telephone number, mailing address, or email address in case the Ethics Commission has questions. Your identity will be kept confidential, but a redacted version of the response to your inquiry shall be a public record.

Advisory Opinions Issued 

2017-01 - The City of College Park Candidates’ Debate Workgroup has asked the Ethics Commission for an advisory opinion regarding whether, under Chapter 34, Article III, Fair Election Practices, of the College Park Code, some candidates for City elective office may pay the fee of a videographer selected by the debate organizer to film the debate or the rental fee for the debate venue when one or more candidates are unwilling to pay their proportional share of the fees.

2016-03 -  November 17, 2016:  Councilmember Kabir requested a waiver of section 38-11(D) of the Ethics Chapter of the College Park Code regarding his employment as an Adjunct Professor with the University of Maryland. 

- October 12, 2016: Advisory opinion regarding whether Councilmember Kabir's part-time employment with the University of Maryland requires him to recuse himself from voting on matters relating to a proposed project involving a partnership between the City and University of Maryland to establish a child care facility on a City-owned property providing child care services to City residents and University employees. 

August 30, 2016:  Should a Councilmember have to recuse him or herself from participating in a vote on a development matter if that Councilmember has no interest in the development other than the fact that the Councilmember lives in a certain proximity to the development.  

2014-01 - March 26, 2014:  Advisory opinion on if the selection of the spouse of an employee of the Department of Planning, Community & Economic Development is permissible. 

2013-01 February 23, 2013: Advisory opinion regarding if incumbent candidates for office may distribute their City-supplied business cards with campaign literature.

2012-01 - November 16, 2012: Advisory opinion regarding whether a Councilmember may be employed as an Administrative Assistant to a Prince George’s County District Councilmember.

2012-R  -  October 23, 201212-R-21 – Resolution of the Mayor and Council of the City of College Park, Maryland, to approve an Ethics Commission Regulation concerning Outside Employment.  

11-01 - May 10, 2011: Advisory opinion regarding potential conflicts of interest relating to a member of the College Park Cable Television Commission participation in matters relating to public access television.

10-01 - August 20, 2010: Advisory opinion regarding the propriety of the Youth, Family and Senior Services Director running for a seat on the Prince George’s County Board of Education or serving as a member of the Board while retaining her position with the City.

08-01 -  June 24, 2008: Advisory opinion regarding the propriety of certain outside employment arrangements of two City employees.

06-01 - June 19, 2006:  Advisory opinion regarding campaign assets remaining after a completed election.

99-1 June 24, 1999:  Advisory opinion regarding if “X” could serve on the Local Development Corporation and the Advisory Planning Commission. “X” serves on a sub-committee of the Local Development Corporation and has been appointed to the Advisory Planning Commission.

98-2 - November 17, 1998: Advisory opinion on Councilmembers obtaining a cellular phone via the State Contract.

98-1 - June 4, 1998: Advisory opinion regarding actions to be taken against citizens/employees who failed to file an annual Conflict of Interest statement.

97-1 - May 16, 1997: Advisory opinion based on the Ethics Commission interpretation and application of §38-11 Conflicts of Interest of the Ethics Code.

96-1 July 9, 1996: Advisory opinion about recusing one’s self from voting on an issue before the Board of Housing Hygiene when the inquisitor had testified before the Noise Control Board about the same issue.
95-1 December 7, 1995:  Advisory opinion of whether a conflict of interest would exist if either the Mayor or a member of Council was a private and opposing party in litigation against the City.

94-2 June 23, 1994:  Advisory opinion regarding City staff distributing parking ticket coupons to each freshman who attends orientation.

94-1 - February 4, 1994: Advisory opinion regarding an appointee to the Steering Committee since the appointee is an owner of rental property.

93-1 - October 26, 1993: Advisory opinion on certain Elections and Ethics Code issues regarding a campaign contribution and campaign expenditure.
92-3 - November 13, 1992:  Ethics Commission was asked to investigate alleged violations of the City’s election law. The Ethics Commission dismissed the complaint.

92-2 - 
June 1992:  Advisory Opinion response to a letter raising various questions relating to campaign finance reporting.

92-1 - November 1992: Investigate alleged violations of the City’s Election laws.  The Ethics Commission dismissed the complaint on procedural grounds.

91-1 December 1991:  During a recent election campaign, a Conflict of Interest Statement was signed by an agent for one of the candidates, and the Ethics Commission was asked for an advisory opinion as to its validity.
90-1 - October 1990:  Advisory opinion as to whether an ethical problem exists when an elected member of Council of a municipal government, elected in a non-partisan election, is also a duly elected and simultaneously sitting member of a partisan Central Committee.

83-1 - January 31, 1983: Advisory opinion as to whether a Councilmember attending a briefing on Litton’s plans and an accompanying dinner violates the Ethics Law.
- October 25, 1983:  Advisory opinion as to whether a Councilmember should abstain from voting on a matter related to zoning.

- April 1985:  Advisory opinion as to whether or not a member of the College Park Airport Authority, who is also a member of a flying club, ought to refrain from voting on an issue pertaining to flying clubs.

85-2 November 1985: Advisory opinion as to whether or not a conflict of interest exists for a citizen who is a member of the College Park Economic Development Committee and also a member of the College Park Design Review Board.

87-1 April 1987: Advisory opinion involving one serving as Chairman of a City Board and at the same time serving as an officer for a youth activity club.

88-2 - October 31, 1988:  Advisory opinion as to whether or not a conflict of interest exists for a member of the College Park Cable Television Commission who is employed as a systems manger  with the Washington Post, which has cable holdings none of which are in this geographical area. 
88-1 - March 1, 1988:  Advisory opinion as to whether or not a conflict of interest exists for  a College Park businessman who is a member of the College Park Economic Development Committee and of the College Park Design Review Board, and who expects to be named as a Director of a new bank locating in College Park.