.06 Code of Conduct.

A. Definitions.

(1) In this regulation, the following terms have the meanings indicated.

(2) Terms Defined.

(a) "Agency employee" means an employee of the Agency who is designated as a public official under State Government Article, §15-103, Annotated Code of Maryland.

(b) "Complaint" means the submission of a communication to the Agency or the Commission alleging a violation of a law, regulation, or the code of conduct established by the Director.

(c) "Conflict of interest" means a situation in which a personal interest of a Commission member or an Agency employee may be contrary to the public interest in an anticipated Commission action or decision.

(d) "Ex parte communication" means a direct or indirect communication between a Commission member or Agency employee and another person regarding an issue in a matter that is pending before the Commission, if the communication is made outside the presence of an opposing person.

(e) "Recusal" means nonparticipation of a Commission member in a specific matter before the Commission.

B. Establishment and Compliance.

(1) The Director shall establish a code of conduct for members of the Commission and Agency employees.

(2) Members of the Commission and Agency employees shall comply with the code of conduct.

C. Recusal of Commission Members.

(1) A Commission member may not participate in a Commission proceeding in matters in which the member:

(a) Has a conflict of interest; or

(b) Cannot participate fairly and impartially.

(2) A Commission memberís familiarity with a person does not, of itself, require recusal of the Commission member.

(3) A Commission member who is recused from a matter before the Commission may not:

(a) Participate in the Commission's discussion or vote on the matter; or

(b) Discuss the matter or the Commission's review of the matter with members of the Commission or another person.

(4) A Commission member who is recused shall physically leave the room during hearings, discussion, or voting on the matter to ensure nonparticipation.

(5) The Commission shall document the recusal of the Commission member in the minutes of the Commission meeting from which the member was recused.

D. Complaints.

(1) A Commission member against whom a complaint is filed shall follow §C(3) and (4) of this regulation for Commission discussion and voting related to the complaint.

(2) Upon receipt of a complaint, the Commission may:

(a) Direct the Agency to investigate; or

(b) Refer the complaint to appropriate unit of State government.

(3) An Agency employee who has a conflict of interest pertaining to the Commission member who is the subject of the complaint may not participate in an investigation of the complaint.

(4) The Commission member who is the subject of the complaint may not participate in any Commission activity until the complaint is resolved.

E. Confidentiality.

(1) A Commission member or Agency employee may not discuss confidential matters with a person other than:

(a) A Commission member;

(b) An Agency employee;

(c) The Attorney General's Office;

(d) A witness; or

(e) Another person authorized by law to be involved in the case.

(2) In the case of an ex parte communication, the Commission member shall follow the provisions of State Government Article, §10-219, Annotated Code of Maryland.