Wednesday, August 07, 2002

Fox won't seek county job




By Steve Kemme, skemme@enquirer.com
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — The Ohio Ethics Commission has shot down a tentative plan by Butler County Commissioner Mike Fox to apply for the top job at the county's Children Services agency.

Fox
Fox
        It would violate state law for Mr. Fox to apply to become executive director of Butler County Children Services without first resigning his commissioner's seat, the commission said in a legal opinion issued Tuesday.

        “Well, I guess that's the end of that,” Mr. Fox said.

        He said he will not resign his commission seat to apply for the job because there is no guarantee that the Children Services board would hire him.

        He earns $67,363 a year as county commissioner. The executive director's salary is about $90,000.

        But Mr. Fox said the job change would lower his overall earnings because the commissioner job allows him enough time to work in his private business — distributing institutional chemical products and promotion and educational software sales.

        He said he's not surprised by the commission's legal opinion.

        “I knew there was an issue,” Mr. Fox said. “That's why I asked. I'd rather have the commission tell me beforehand that I can't do it than for the prosecutor's office to tell me later that I shouldn't have done it.”

        Because the commissioners appoint the Children Services board members, there would be a conflict of interest in a county commissioner applying for a job with the agency, the commission said.

        Such a situation “would be fraught with ethical difficulties,” Jennifer Hardin, the commission's chief advisory attorney, said in a letter to the county commissioners' attorney.

       



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