Commissioner claims county ethics ordinance violates state law - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Commissioner claims county ethics ordinance violates state law

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. (FOX13) -

Shelby County Commissioner Sidney Chism cleared by an ethics board Thursday after fellow Commissioner Terry Roland previously accused him of "conflict of interest" for voting for a federally funded pre-school program when he runs a day care in Memphis.

"Had the county followed the rules and regulations set forth by the county commission for this ethics code I wouldn't have never ever been in a position to defend myself," said Chism.

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But don't think Roland is hanging up the boxing gloves and apologizing: He not only plans to file an appeal with the state against the ethics ruling, he says testimony during the ethics hearing proves county ethics ordinance violates state law.

"What Commissioner (Steve) Mulroy testified to yesterday was that it was less stringent which puts Shelby County in violation," said Roland, "They violated state law by not making it as strict as state law."

Back in 2007, the state required all counties to adopt new ethics policies following the Tennessee Waltz sting. While the county commission went through this process, Chism told FOX 13 in 2007, "I don't think we can ever be able to remedy the fact that if a crook's a crook, a crook is a crook. You can't change the mindset of people when they're that way."
Roland says he plans to draft a new ethics policy for that county that is up to state law par.

He added, "Should not anybody be against that, but you watch: All these politicians, they're going to jump up and down when we try to match state law because they won't to be under the scrutiny."

Chism said the ethics battle cost him $60,000.

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