Payback: Johnny O’s political appointments reek of cronyism
Posted by Buzz Beeler on 2nd January 2019
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Silence is golden when it comes to this type of payback. (Photo credit: East County Times)

Newly elected Baltimore County Executive Johnny O issued a press release announcing appointments to leadership roles within his administrations that feature a few very familiar names.

What struck us about the announcement is the continued lack of transparency in this administration, which is demonstrated by the following excerpt:

“We are working to make Baltimore County more innovative, transparent, and responsive to the needs of residents and communities, and that requires assembling a top notch leadership team. These individuals will play a critical role in our efforts to build a better Baltimore County together,” Olszewski said.

In the above photo, Don Mohler–then county executive–stands to the left of Johnny O, presumably showing his support.

Flash forward to today’s press release and you’ll see that Mike Mohler has been named Acting Director of Permits, Approvals, and Inspections.

A little payback for the Mohler family, perhaps?

For those of you who are not familiar with Mike Mohler, this article may refresh your memory.

The story we published dealt with a double homicide that occurred at a rental property on Wise Ave. in Dundalk. Neither the police nor anyone from the county announced during the investigation and hunt for the suspect that the rental property had been investigated for several months by county officials.

That pattern of non-transparency continued. Every time an important issue came up involving the community and the Post attempted to inform our readers, we were met with a wall of silence.

During the course of our investigation, we contacted the Rental Registration Unit of Baltimore County and were attempting to gain information pertaining to our article when Mike Mohler, the director of that unit, picked up the phone and abruptly put a stop to our inquiry:

Mike Mohler, who oversees operations for the rental registration division, had a somewhat spirited discourse with us pertaining to transparency. He also advised us that we had to go through the Baltimore County Office of Communications (BCOC) in order for him to give us what we believe is public information. (For those unaware, Mike is the brother of County Executive Don Mohler.)

For us here at the Baltimore Post this particular appointment reveals an issue that we believe will nag Johnny O’s administration for the next four years. The appointment of Mike Mohler smacks of cronyism and payback for the support of his brother, Don, who also had close ties with former Councilman John Olszewski, Sr.

Another name that grabbed our attention was Rhoda Benjamin, who will become the county’s Chief Human Resources Officer for the Department of Housing and Community Development–the same position she held in Baltimore City.

Again, we believe this is a sort of payback deal. Johnny O held a very lucrative position inside the Katherine Pugh administration alongside the notorious land developer attorney, Jim Smith.

Folks, it’s not hard to read between the lines and see the inevitable payback taking place, with a little bit of cronyism sprinkled in the mix.

We believe that these appointments are a prelude of what is to come in Baltimore County for the next four years.

The Post will have more information on these issues as they develop.

Stay tuned, because there is plenty more to come as we continue to follow “the Johnny O show!”