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Furthermore …

Lessons for county’s next ethics complaint

Instead of a hearing on the details of County Councilman Paul Moss’ controversial middle-of-the-night traffic stop, the Allen County Ethics Commission heard an apology and dismissed the complaint against him.

And that’s probably the most county residents could have expected.

The decision was probably a compromise reflecting two key issues:

•Moss should have never made the late-night call to Sheriff Ken Fries asking to expedite a blood-alcohol test that ultimately never occurred.

•Nevertheless, Moss’ actions did not clearly violate the county ethics policy, and the commission likely could not discipline the councilman, whose term expires at the end of this month.

Significantly, the action came after the ethics commission decided it needed its own attorney, and the county commissioners hired the well-respected Tim McCauley to advise and represent the commission.

The ordeal will, at the very least, result in appointment of a new commission member after Thomas Ryan walked out of a previous meeting and never returned. And it should spur a review of the commission’s duties as well as the county’s ethics policy. Some familiar with the matter and with county government questioned the commission’s role as both investigator of a complaint and the panel that determines the employees’ fate. In some ways, the commission served as the police, prosecutor and judge, a less-than-ideal situation.

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