Archive for August 2011
Thanks to pg-politics for sharing.
Where’s the beef IG?
Candidate Rushern Baker’s “30-day plan” as published in the Post Voters Guide and summarized in the Gazette Voters Guide (see below) contained at least an implied promise to act within 30 days on the establishment of an Inspector General. Mr. Baker also promised several additional reforms:
- Prohibit County Credit Cards for Elected Officials (by executive order)
- Prohibit Gifts, Meals and Beverages for County Officials (by executive order)
- Transparent Government Online (by executive order)
- County Council Slates (by county ordinance)
- County Council Lobbyists (by county ordinance)
- Contractors reports of campaign contributions (by county ordinance)
Not counting the day of his inauguration he had until 6 Jan 2011 to act on those promises.
- That means he had over seven months to come up with specific plans, executive orders, and proposed ordinances for submission to the county council.
- He had almost four months from the time he won the primary election to come up with specific plans, executive orders, and proposed ordinances for submission to the county council.
- He had about two months from the time he won the general election to come up with specific plans, executive orders, and proposed ordinances for submission to the county council.
- He had almost 50 days from from the time his predecessor and an incoming council member were arrested to come up with specific plans, executive orders, and proposed ordinances for submission to the county council.
So what did Mr.Baker actually do? None of what he promised!
Instead of putting forward specific plans and promulgating executive orders or sending the council proposed ordinances, Mr. Baker took the road followed by too many politicians who want to avoid dealing with tough issues or want cover for breaking their promises–he established a task force to try to hide his failure to act.
Baker’s task force took almost 6 months to draft a report, and came up with the kind of preliminary recommendations that should have been ready long before Baker’s inauguration. The report did not propose any specifics that could actually be promulgated by the county executive or submitted to the council for enactment.
Writing recently in the Examiner, six weeks after the task force report was submitted, Ben Giles reported that the task force has had no feedback since submitting its report and Baker’s staff says it might be months, possibly not until fiscal 2013, before an Inspector General is appointed, if ever.
Repeating the question: Rushern Baker and Ethics Reform — Serious or Scam?
The lack of any meaningful action by Mr. Baker seems to answer more loudly than the empty words that have come out of his propaganda machine. It is unfortunate that, except for Mr. Giles, the media seems to have been bamboozled by Mr. Baker’s rhetoric and hasn’t bothered to look beyond it or made any attempt to follow up on or hold him accountable for his promises.
- May 19, 2011, Is Rushern Baker really serious about cleaning up the county’s image?
- January 14, 2011, Status of Rushern Baker’s 30 Day Plan for Ethics Reform
Excerpt from candidate Rushern Baker’s “30-day plan” as published in the Post Voters Guide on the establishment of an Inspector General. See my January 14, 2011, posting for the full plan and comments on progress at that time. There has been no substantive progress on the county controlled aspects of the plan since then.
RAISING OUR STANDARDS
The First Thirty Days as County Executive Thru:
Introduction of Legislation to the County Council
Introduction of Legislation to the House of Delegates
The County will create an office of Inspector General to investigate waste, fraud, abuse, mismanagement and conflicts-of-interest in the County government. The Inspector General must be professionally qualified with a background in auditing and public financial management. The Inspector General must be selected based on ability and integrity, without regard to political affiliation. The Inspector General will be appointed by the County Executive and confirmed by the County Council for a fixed term of office that is staggered and non-concurrent with the Executive and Council. The office of inspector general will have its own staff and will enjoy subpoena power. The Inspector General will conduct investigations, review financial managements, examine potential conflicts-of-interest, conduct performance audits and similar reviews, make recommendations, public findings, and make referrals to law enforcement agencies. The Inspector General will also conduct annual ethics audits of locally elected officials and make results public.
[Can be accomplished by county ordinance.]
And Mr. Baker told the Gazette Voters Guide
Much more needs to be done to open government. Major ethics reform is long overdue in Prince George’s County, I will end pay for play practices in government business dealings. I believe in full disclosure and my campaign posts a list of its donors every sixty days. I have also released a comprehensive list of initiatives I will take in my first thirty days. As County Executive I will strive to make government and campaigns more transparent. I also pledge to establish a first ever County Inspector General to police ethics conduct and perform annual ethics audits.
Thanks to Goose Sain for sharing.
In the 2010 District 6 County Council race, Derrick Leon Davis raised $44,263 in campaign contributions.
Voters haven’t even had their say yet, but all signs point to them plunking their levers for Derrick Leon Davis on September 20. Why? Well, because our County Executive says so, as recently reported by WTOP. Baker says that since Davis was part of his slate last year, “Nothing has changed to persuade me that he’s not the right person for that area.”
While I don’t really have any say in the outcome, when will Democrats stand up and start pointing out that it’s simply undemocratic for an elected official to anoint a candidate in your own primary? If Davis is the best candidate, then Baker doesn’t need to put in his two cents because I believe he can trust the voters to figure that out for themselves.
Although our County Executive presides over the entire county, I’m not sure he lives in District 6 either and voters should question his reasons for wanting his own ally on Council to represent them. Although I haven’t blogged in quite awhile, I could not stand by silently and once again watch the voters of District 6 be manipulated into choosing somebody based on an endorsement, rather than one’s qualifications, their record of service, and their platform on issues that matter in District 6. I also wouldn’t mind if somebody else stepped up and declared their candidacy. We know there are a vast number of really smart and talented people in District 6. Don’t be scared off by early endorsements, please step up and get in the race. We need your leadership and your fresh ideas, rather than people who are recycling the same old stuff.
I was pleased to see that the Redistricting Commission heard our concerns about moving Accokeek out of District 9, and decided not to do it. Accordning to the new map (http://www.princegeorgescountymd.gov/Maps/index.asp), we are staying, but Andrews Air Force base and Morningside are going to District 8, which makes perfect sense to me. Unfortunately, since the Branch Avenue Metro Station would now be in District 8, it will give our smart-growth minded Councilman, Mel Franklin, less authority over pushing for development near there. But at least he’s doing what’s necessary to keep sprawl from spreading in other parts of the developing and rural tier. He’ll also pick up additional neighborhoods in Upper Marlboro, where he resides. That would seem to favor his reelection in 2014, with more votes he can pick up right in his backyard. What did you think? Were you happy with the way that lines were redrawn?