April 24, 2014 9:58 am ET
County bean counters taking gas from courts over FOP issue
Source: “Here Comes the Judge”
I believe Forest Gump said it best: “Stupid is as stupid does.” Are the fine folks in our county government aware of this statement? Do they even care?
Evidence suggests that they don’t know and don’t care, which is costing the taxpayers a lot of cash.
Where do I begin to describe events that are so mind boggling that even Forest Gump would be left aghast? (Or, since we’re talking about the bean counters, could that be “a-gassed?”) As you may remember, the county has been ordered—time and time again—to make restitution to a good number of police retirees due to them being overcharged for their health care benefits.
Anyway, the stench of mismanagement at the county throne is so strong that Baltimore County Circuit Court Judge Michael J. Finifter is considering throwing the chief bean counter and current occupant of said throne, Kevin Kamenetz, into the slammer.
This is certainly a case where a little bit of common sense would go a long way. This is not a situation that is entrenched in trickery or a righteous cause. Simply put, the county refuses to resolve this issue, as well as a host of other issues.
I have said this over and over—it’s about leadership, leadership, and more leadership!
Now that I got that off my chest, let’s take a look at how, in Baltimore County, that so-called leadership is about ready to implode (or, if you are one of those bean counters like Fred Homan, explode.) Either way, Wednesday’s Sunshowed how stinky it can get when two “leaders” [Kamenetz and Homan] are so full of themselves concerning a decision that was even stinkier that the taxpayers bear the brunt of many wasted overcooked and burned beans.
The Sun’s Alison Knezevich covers Baltimore County, and her article is just a glimpse into some very troubling issues that every taxpayer and voter should be watching closely. To quote the piece:
“Last year, police union leaders said the county owed each retiree about $1,300 to $1,900. The union previously sought about $573,000 in total reimbursements for the retired officers.
However, amid the court fight, interest on the amount the county owes to the retirees is growing, and the judgment against the county now totals more than $1.6 million because of legal fees, interest and the amount that the retirees are continuing to overpay.”
There is leadership for you, folks.
For those of you that don’t know it, our leader is an attorney. That means that he should know the law. If we give Mr. Kamenetz the benefit of the doubt and go along with the theory that he did not know anything (rather a compelling statement), then we should question why the underlings that surround the County Executive did not prop him up and move his lips.
It looks like, in this situation and others, Mr. Kamenetz’s lips are the problem as this video demonstrates. There are others closer to the situation that might be more aware of this side of our executive.
Now let’s start to look at the pot of beans that I believe are either half-baked or just plain charred to ashes, depending on your point of view. And, to be fair, I’m going to focus on the headliners—the gaffs that made the front pages of the local papers.
It begins with the ADA boondoggle. The county knew it was in the wrong, but the powers that be kept doing what they wanted without a care in the world when, WHAM, the feds came in and busted their chops (with a little beans added). Local labor attorney Kathy Cahill came into the picture and, to date, the county has paid out a ton of money to the victims of the reckless actions.
However, Ms. Cahill is far from done. She represents additional clients, and the tab continues to climb.
In addition to the claims that mostly involve police officers, there is another attorney waiting in the wings to represent county workers who were targets of the county’s ADA law violations. The feds were playing “Whack-A-Mole” with the county over its utter disregard for the law (to which I can relate personally) while the powers that be continued to defy reason, again costing the taxpayers millions.
Waiting in the wings is another attorney, Virginia Barnhart, who represents county employees. That can mean a ton of additional cases are on the horizon.
The bean pot is boiling over…
I don’t want to get too long-winded here, so I’ll cut to the chase with this last case of (mistaken) leadership and how the pot of beans boiled over into a mess—the dreaded sale of county property which, at least by Mr. Kamenetz’s standards, would generate revenue to help put air-conditioning in the schools.
Well, after the 2014 “revolution” in Baltimore County on that decision, those AC units in the schools may end up being tiny handheld fans, because all the beans that were supposed to go to that venture were scarfed up again by the “leaders.”
You see, we already know that the county is going to lose money on the property sales, especially on the one in Dundalk.
Now comes the coup d’état in the form of additional lost revenue because of the lack of foresight and just plain arrogance.
A few quotes from the Sun should do it for this blog, so here come some, courtesy of my favorite reporter, Alison:
“The FOP continues to believe that their retirees should have more generous benefits than everyone else,” Kamenetz chief of staff Don Mohler said in a statement.
(Blogger’s note: Well folks, can you tell me that the “leadership” hasn’t secured its own piece of the pie with sweetheart pension deals?)
“It’s clear that in the court’s mind the buck stops at the county executive’s office,” Silverman said. “There has to be accountability in government, and in the court’s mind, the accountability starts and ends with the executive.”
(Blogger’s note: There’s that nasty word leadership again)
“Weston said county taxpayers could have saved ‘a tremendous amount’ of money had the county not fought previous court decisions.”
(Blogger’s note: See folks, it all amounts to one MAJOR hill of beans!)
I’m tired of beans. I want leadership that will work in the best interests of the taxpayers, rather than leaders that work in their own best interests despite what is best for the taxpayers.
And I’m pretty sure that you do, too…