Cumberland School of Law hosts ‘Conversation About Ethics Reform’
With state ethics reform anticipated as a major legislative agenda item this year, Cumberland School of Law is hosting an event to discuss the issue on Friday.
John Carroll, a former acting director of the Alabama Ethics Commission and 14-year federal judge, is serving as the event’s host for the law school.
Carroll told Yellowhammer News his hope for the event is to “give a sense of where some of the difficult issues in ethics reform are and encourage a respectful dialogue about those issues.”
The Cumberland forum is taking place on the heels of this month’s final report from the Code of Ethics Clarification and Reform Commission, a report Carroll called “a great step in beginning the respectful dialogue I hope we can have.”
“We will be discussing some of the suggestions from the report as they relate to our topics,” he added.
Carroll envisions the group covering the definition of a principal, gift provisions, conflict of interest provisions, the intent requirement and the use of state time and property by public officials and public employees, among other topics.
The issue of what exactly constitutes a principal under the state ethics law could end up at the center of former Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard’s appeal to the Alabama Supreme Court. In upholding 11 of the 12 criminal counts upon which Hubbard was convicted, the Court of Criminal Appeals wrote, “[W]e strongly encourage the legislature to consider amending the law to better circumscribe the class of persons defined as principals.”
At this point, Carroll believes the key to engaging in a constructive conversation “is to be willing to listen to folks who have a different view than you do and be willing to reconsider that view based on what they have to say.”
The event is scheduled from 2:00-4:00pm in Cumberland School of Law’s John L. Carroll Moot Court Room.
Panelists will include:
Matthew C. McDonald, partner, Jones Walker LLP in Mobile, Alabama
Katherine Robertson, chief counsel to Alabama’s attorney general
Judge Joseph Boohaker, Jefferson County Circuit Court judge
Judge Jerry L. Fielding, chair of the Alabama Ethics Commission
Tim Howe is an owner and editor of Yellowhammer News