The Jerome Township Board of Trustees has asked the Ohio Ethics Commission for advice regarding the township's relationship with Union County Chamber of Commerce CEO Eric Phillips.

The Jerome Township Board of Trustees has asked the Ohio Ethics Commission for advice regarding the township's relationship with Union County Chamber of Commerce CEO Eric Phillips.

Phillips serves as Union County's economic development director and as CEO of the Union County Chamber of Commerce. He has performed duties in his dual positions for 10 years.

A letter requesting an advisory opinion from the Ohio Ethics Commission was sent July 13 on behalf of the board by Kathleen Crowley, township development director, to the ethics commission's executive director, Paul Nick.

It asks for "an advisory opinion from the Ohio Ethics Commission on how the Jerome Township Board of Trustees should address future situations in which the Union County economic development director, Eric Phillips, holds an additional position which requires him to perform duties on behalf of the Union County Chamber of Commerce that affect the Township."

Crowley had no comment on the matter.

"At this time, we're just not going to comment on this," she said.

Phillips also declined to comment.

According to information on the Ohio Ethics Commission website, the purpose of an advisory opinion is to provide guidance in writing to an official or employee before the official or employee engages in an action that may be prohibited by the law.

If a person receives a written opinion from the commission, and acts in compliance with the opinion, the opinion provides the person with immunity from criminal prosecution, civil action or removal from office, the website says.

The website also says a public official or employee who fails to follow an opinion of the commission is subject to potential civil or criminal action for violating ethics laws.

Three attempts to reach Nick by phone were unsuccessful prior to ThisWeek's press time.