Washington, Sept 13 : Elected officials in America have been permitted to have sexual relations with employees directly working under them - after a proposal to ban such relationships was rejected by the Frederick Board of County Commissioners.
The proposal was put forward by Commissioner John L. Thompson Jr., who turned out to be the only member in the five-member commission who voted in favour of it during the preliminary poll. The proposal, which Thomson referred to as "No paramours on the payroll," was short of just three votes to move forward to a hearing in October for the board's final vote on 2009 legislative priorities. If voted in favour, the proposal would have been sent to Frederick County's legislative delegation in the General Assembly, as part of a package of proposals. "I certainly agree that it's not a good thing for those sorts of relationships to happen, but I do wonder about the appropriateness of us as a body putting forth how the state delegation operates," the Washington Times quoted County Commissioner Kai J. Hagen, as saying.
According to Board of County Commissioners Vice President David P. Gray, if the proposal was enacted as part of the state's public ethics law, its enforcement would have become quite difficult.
Last week, Thompson admitted that he was expecting that the proposal would not see any support at the public hearing.
"I would not be surprised to find that commissioners have been heavily lobbied by members of our [legislative] delegation. They do not want to have to consider this," he said.
"If an official is going to have an affair with someone, it should be someone who is not on the public payroll," he said.
The other reasons for Thompson to initiate the proposal were that other licensed professionals had similar codes of ethics and that affairs between elected officials and those under their supervision stopped officials from effectively doing their jobs.
In fact, he went on to cite President Clinton's impeachment trial as an example, for supporting his proposal.
He also said there was also a local situation that made him come up with the proposal, but he refused to give names.