October 16, 2013 8:37 pm ET
Inaction nearly triples the “taxpayer tab”
Source: County Defies Court Order
Our county leadership seems to enjoy playing games with our hard-earned tax dollars.
Now, before I am hanged in effigy for making such a statement, let me point out that the source of my information is an article by Alison Knezevich of the Baltimore Sun. In the article, Alison points out the county’s blatant and obstinate defiance of a court order—a move that continues to cost more money as the days go by.
This whole matter started with a 2008 court case resulting from a grievance filed by the FOP Union. According to the Sun article:
“The union claimed the county violated a memorandum of understanding when it shifted additional health care costs to retirees. The case made its way to the Maryland Court of Appeals, which ruled in favor of the union last year.”
After years of wrangling between the FOP and the county, an arbitrator stepped in and ruled in favor of the union. However, as is the practice of the county leadership, the matter was far from over. The county moved “onward and upward” in its fight to overturn the ruling.
(As best as I can tell, the logic in play here is: in order to save money, you have to spend a lot more of it.)
So the case weaved its way through the court system with the county losing at every junction. The final stop on the “spend money” tour was the highest court in the State of Maryland, the Court of Appeals.
In August, Judge Michael J. Finifter ordered the county to pay the retirees. Apparently he was talking to the tail end of the horse rather than the head, because his order either fell on deaf ears or never reached the ears of those in the hallowed halls of county government. In other words, the county ignored the judge’s order.
But wait, it gets better.
As a result or the continued inaction, the FOP filed suit against County Executive Kevin Kamenetz for civil contempt of court. That brought out some harsh words from the judge, as the Sun article noted:
“I understand you disagree wholeheartedly with the Court of Appeals, but they are the Court of Appeals, and it is Maryland’s highest court,” the judge said to the county’s lawyers. “So why does the county feel that they don’t have to comply with Maryland’s highest court?”
Of course, the county is crying in our tax dollars by disagreeing with everything. Meanwhile, the tab continues to run like a meter in a taxicab. Unfortunately, the passenger has no clue as to how long the ride is going to last.
Earlier I used the words blatant and obstinate, which I believe accurately describe the actions of the leadership in the county, more specifically one person. During a recent discussion with Cole Weston, the president of the FOP, I asked him who was behind the county’s actions. His response was, “Fred Homan is behind everything.”
I was absolutely shocked by that statement.
OK, maybe I wasn’t. But others may be shocked about the “tail wagging the dog,” so to speak.
I get the strange sensation that both Mr. Homan and Mr. Kamenetz are following in the blueprint of the folks in Washington—obey a law if you agree with it, and totally disregard it if you don’t.
Folks, I like games as much as the next person, but this game of “follow the leader” continues to cost us a ton of our money.