Court approves financial disclosure requirements

Published 9:25 am Friday, January 26, 2024

By Fiona Morgan

The Fiscal Court passed the first reading of Ordinance 280.3, which amends the code of ethics for Boyle County officials and employees, at their meeting on Tuesday.

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The amendment mainly affects those who serve on county boards, commissions, and advisory groups. It changes how much information they must disclose to serve on a board, and who must complete the financial disclosure forms.

The section of the code of ethics on financial disclosures had not been updated in 30 years, according to Ethics Commission member Joe Myers. The issue came up in a November Fiscal Court meeting, when Health Department Director Brent Blevins said that local people are hesitant to serve on boards because of how much personal financial information they have to disclose.

The purpose of financial disclosure is to make sure there are no conflicts of interest for anyone serving on a county board.

The form requires extensive information regarding the individual and their family’s finances. This includes sources of income, debts, investments, businesses and properties owned, and many other things.

Some members of boards and advisory groups said they felt that some parts of the forms were unnecessary, and that not everyone should have to complete them. Magistrates agreed that they should investigate updating the ordinance.

The court had passed a 90-day moratorium in November on sending out financial disclosure forms, allowing the ethics commission 90 days to review the forms for possible changes.

In December, the Boyle County Ethics Commission held a public meeting to receive input on financial disclosure forms from those who complete them. At the meeting, one member of a volunteer advisory committee said they have lost volunteers because they did not wish to complete the financial disclosure form.

Myers said they had members from six or seven boards give them feedback.

“We got feedback and strong feelings from folks; most of it was along the lines of the forms being intrusive, burdensome, and irrelevant,” Myers said. “I say irrelevant because a lot of times the information that’s going to be disclosed is never going to come into play.”

The Ethics Commission discussed changes to the county’s ethics code, so that they can later change the form people fill out. Myers presented their proposed changes to the Fiscal Court, which they approved. The changes are listed below:

• Those who serve on advisory groups or committees that do not handle taxpayer money, do not have to complete financial disclosure forms. Myers said this change will address many of the citizens’ concerns.

The amendment defines those who are exempt from the forms as “volunteer members of boards, commissions or other similar entities created by law or county government, whose role is to advise or coordinate, or represent, and/or advocate a position or project within county government administration and who do not have any formal or official policy making, procurement, taxing authority, or governing power.”

• The amendment adds a definition and language for Special Purpose Government Entities, or S.P.G.E. Myers said when the current version of the ethics code was passed in 1994, the terminology of SPGE did not exist, as it’s a relatively recent term by the state.

Also sometimes called special taxing districts, SPGE’s exist to provide one or a limited number of services or functions. They collect specific taxes for their operating budget. They are governed by a board, council, commission, committee, authority, or corporation with  policy-making authority that is separate from the state and local governing body. Examples of SPGE’s include libraries, health departments, Parks and Recreation, etc.

Members serving on SPGE’s must complete financial disclosures.

• The amendment removes the requirement of disclosing securities. ‘Securities’ is defined in the ordinance as “any ready marketable financial instruments representing an ownership stake or debt obligation of publicly held corporations, governmental agencies, investment companies (mutual funds), etc., including but not limited to instruments whose value is derived from those mentioned and insurance investment contracts (annuities). Examples include: stocks, bonds, mutual funds, annuities, options, and futures contracts.”

• The amendment removes the requirement for sources of income and other financial ventures for members of the individual’s immediate family. It still includes that the individual and their spouse disclose sources of income exceeding $10,000, as well as the type of income.

• The form filer as well as their spouse must still disclose businesses they own or have interest in, real property, debts, and other things. They raised the minimum rate of ownership interest in a business from 5% to 10% in order to disclose.

For real property, they raised the minimum amount in order to disclose from $10,000 to $20,000 or more. For debts, they raised the amount to disclose from $5,000 to $10,000 or more.

• The amendment removed a section about having to disclose gifts of more than $100 that a filer receives from any single source, excluding family members. Myers said they will still have a requirement to disclose gifts, but are working on what that will look like. He said disclosing gifts on an annual form is ineffective, and would be better addressed as things come up for any person throughout the year.

• Magistrates agreed that they should add one other change to the ordinance. They passed a motion to require the disclosure of any bankruptcies by those who serve on boards.

The amendment includes other minor changes. To see the full ordinance and all changes that were made, go to the online version of this story at

In other business:

• Magistrate Steve Sleeper gave a report on the most recent Economic Development Authority meeting. He said the EDA voted to move forward with the purchase of an 83 acre property owned by Norfolk Southern. The property is in south Danville off the Danville bypass.

When Norfolk Southern signs the purchase agreement, the EDA will proceed with a survey, phase one environmental study and due diligence inspections.

• The court approved several new members for the new homelessness task force. They are Terri Carter from the Danville Housing Authority; Jenny Clark from the Family Resource Center with Danville Schools; Monica Gilbert with Ephraim McDowell Health; Beth Marlowe; and Debbie Thurnell with St. Peter and Paul Church.

• County Clerk Casey McCoy presented their 4th quarter report, which the court approved.

• The court agreed that the county clerk may use the Fiscal Courtroom from May 8 to 15 for excused voting. The Fiscal Court said they would either have to reschedule their May 14 meeting or find a new location for it.

• The court approved the county’s 2024 second quarter financial report.