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Joint ethics board terminates review of ethics complaint against Mark Mathis

Mark Mathis, left, waits as the joint city-county ethics board prepares to begin its meeting Thursday at Bardstown City Hall.

 

By JIM BROOKS
Nelson County Gazette / WBRT Radio

Thursday, April 19, 2018 — The Joint Ethics Board voted Thursday afternoon to terminate its review of the ethics complaint filed against Mark Mathis, a long-serving member of the joint city-county planning commission.

The board cited the ethics ordinance that allows the board to terminate an ethics complaint inquiry if it determines the complaint is without factual basis.

The complaint, filed by Woodlawn Springs subdivision resident Pete Trzop, alleged Mathis had a number of possible conflicts of interest due to Mathis being part owner of Mago Inc., an asphalt company, after Mathis voted as a planning commission member in favor of a zoning change for the Woodlawn Springs golf course property.

Nelson Fiscal Court later upheld the planning commission’s recommendation to approve the zoning change

Mathis addresses the ethics commission at its March 27, 2018, preliminary inquiry regarding the complaint against him.

Thursday’s ethics board meeting re-opened the preliminary inquiry in the matter that began at the board’s March 27, 2018, meeting. A decision on the complaint was delayed at the March 27, 2018, was delayed due to the absence of the board’s Fairfield representative.

Mathis and his wife Debi attended the hearing but the board did not have any additional questions for Mathis.

Don Thrasher, the Republican candidate for judge executive, attended the meeting, as did Jan Johnston-Crowe, the planning commission director, and the commission’s attorney, Mike Coen. The board took no input from the audience.

The board entered into an executive session for about 20 minutes before it returned and voted unanimously to terminate the inquiry into its complaint.

The board did not address a letter Thrasher sent to the board calling on them to investigate Mathis’ statement about his percentage of ownership of Mago Inc.

Mathis, who has a total of 28 years of service as a member of the planning commission and board of adjustment, said after the decision he hopes to continue his role as a volunteer board member.

“I appreciate the ethics board members also serving our community, and their efforts in addressing the ethics complaint filed against me,” he said. “The decision of the ethics board speaks for itself — it was unanimous.”

Mathis said he hoped that the complaint filed against him does not have a chilling effect on the ability to recruit volunteers to serve on community boards like the planning commission.

Thrasher had no comment for members of the media.

In an email to local media, Pete Trzop, stated: “The Ethics Board ruling was of no surprise. The members did what they were expected to do by the people who appointed them.”

FINANCIAL DISCLOSURES. The board also reviewed the status of the 2017 Statements of Financial Interest that are required to be filed by all local elected and appointed officials.

In the process of tracking down valid addresses for individuals who needed to comply, only three statements remain to be filed. The three filers will be given time to file once they have received their notices from the ethics board.

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