FARMINGTON — Should the recently appointed three-member Davis County Ethics Review Commission ever be called on, the citizens group will certainly be up to the task, based on their experience on the bench.
Rodney Page, Russell Bench and Darwin Hansen have been appointed by the Davis County Commission to serve on the county’s newly formed Ethics Review Commission.
Hansen and Bench will each serve a three-year term on the commission, while Page will serve a two-year term, Davis County Personnel Director Mel Miles said.
The staggered appointments guarantee some continuity to the group as it won’t be necessary to replace them all at once as their terms expire, Miles said.
“I don’t know how we could have done better than with these folks,” Miles said of the group, which consists of retired court judges or senior judges.
On Tuesday, the commission unanimously made the appointments.
“They will help us with the ethics issues that come up,” Davis County Commissioner Louenda Downs said.
“I’m glad I never knew any of them,” Davis County Commissioner John Petroff Jr. joked in reference to never having gone before one of the judges when they were on the bench.
“We know they’ll be impartial, and they have a great deal of experience,” Petroff said.
The commissioners established the citizens ethics review commission in September to hear complaints directed at Davis County elected leaders. The group is expected to resolve differences on a local level in a timely manner.
Davis County Commissioner Bret Millburn said he is unaware of any ethics violation complaints lodged against Davis leaders since he has been in office, or even earlier.
But establishing the citizens group, a result of state lawmakers giving the county the opportunity to do so, Millburn said, will give local entities the option of hearing those complaints directed at its officials, which in theory should make for a more responsive review.
Any complaint will be heard within 60 calendar days of acceptance, according to the ordinance.
Prior to establishing the ethics review commission, ethics violation complaints would have likely been heard by the county commission, Chief Civil Deputy Attorney Bill McGuire said.
“The (ethics review) commission may hold a hearing to determine if an ethical violation actually occurred,” the ordinance states.
Senate Bill 180, which was approved during the 2012 Legislative session, authorized counties to create their own ordinance as it relates to ethics complaints.
The county’s ordinance, drafted by McGuire, addresses how to submit ethics complaints against a county officer, how the complaint will be processed and how the complaint will be investigated.
The ordinance also provides an appeal to a state ethics review board on the condition the complainant is not satisfied with the findings and decision made at the local level.