2006 Legal Opinions and Advisories

January 9, 2006
A Corporation Counsel opinion was requested as to whether an individual who was part of an organization that sought to recall a county supervisor could be appointed to the Ethics Board.  Corporation Counsel opined that participation in a campaign to recall a county supervisor would not disqualify an individual from membership on the Ethics Board.  Corporation Counsel further opined that the member would not be required to abstain from voting on the pending charges, although he or she could recuse him or herself if he or she felt that fairness would be an issue.
June 14, 2006
A Milwaukee county employee sought an Ethics Board opinion regarding her invitation to serve on the board of directors for a local organization.  The organization had two contracts with the department with which the employee was employed.  The employee did not have any involvement in the negotiations related to either contract and agreed to excuse herself from any discussions involving those agreements while serving on the organization’s board of directors.  The Ethics Board opined that the employee would not be violating the Ethics Code, provided that she avoided any situation where she would be using her position with the county to obtain a financial benefit for the organization.
August 22, 2006
An Ethics Board opinion was sought as to whether it would be an Ethics Code violation for an organization that was housed in a county facility and received county funding to invite county officials and their families to attend a “dress rehearsal” of an event at no charge.  The officials who would have been invited were the same officials who vote on the funding.  The Ethics Board opined that the Ethics Code prohibited this, because the invitation could reasonably be construed as a reward for official action or an attempt to influence official action.
September 26, 2006
The Corporation Counsel opined that the Statement of Economic Interest (SEI) form should be modified only in the event of a demonstrated need.

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