A much-anticipated interim report from Baltimore County’s Johnny Olzewski Jr. Inspector General Reform Commission, released Friday, contains no recommendations on how to change offices.
In the 168-page report, the Blue Ribbon Commission on Ethics and Accountability — appointed by Olshevsky to amend the ordinance surrounding county Schaefer Center for Public Policy describes the results of an “ethical climate survey” of staff. Baltimore County signed his $100,000 contract with the Shaffer Center to provide “administrative support” to the commission.
The commission solicited feedback from approximately 7,500 county officials, commissions and commission members, according to the report.
About 1,500 people surveyed responded to at least one question, according to the report. However, none of the Schafer Center questions even yielded a simple majority response from the respondents. According to the report, some respondents included “individuals working in elected positions,” and 21% were employees of the Baltimore County Police Department. The report contained 300 words explaining how and why some email surveys “bounced back.”
The Schafer Center asked county employees and local government officials to indicate whether they believed their manager or co-workers were acting unethically and their level of knowledge about the county’s ethics rules. Respondents were also asked to indicate their trust in the Office of the Inspector General, the Office of the County Auditor, and the Ethics Commission, and indicate whether they have ever felt threatened by members of the office.
Ann Cotten, director of the Shaffer Center, who has been identified as the commission’s “lead investigator”, was asked why the report did not include details of possible recommendations and said the commission was “partially The committee originally had until July 2022 to submit its draft recommendations.
Instead, the report rehashed committee functions and procedures, meeting schedules, and individuals invited or permitted to speak at public meetings, and dedicated 50 exhibits to respondents’ responses and their demographic statistics. increase.
“We are proud of the actions and progress we have taken to foster a culture of transparent and open government in Baltimore County,” Olszewski said in a statement. We look forward to considering the Commission’s recommendations and final report.”
Tensions between Olszewski’s administration and the county’s first inspector general’s office, led by former lieutenant state attorney Kelly Madigan, have been simmering for years.
Olszewski — the Democrat who easily won a second term in November — launched the Blue Ribbon Commission on Ethics and Accountability in October 2021, recommending reforms to Madigan’s office and appointing 11 members Did. The executive order establishes an oversight board and, after a public backlash against Olshevsky’s bill (first reported by Baltimore His Brew) that would limit access to Madigan’s government records, the Office of the Inspector General This marked a change in Olshevsky’s strategy of reforming the
The Commission has faced similar scrutiny despite its ban on public testimony at public meetings. In October, county residents filed a complaint with Maryland’s Public Meeting Compliance Commission, prompting two subcommittees on the commission that handle much of the commission’s work to discuss what had happened behind closed doors with county officials and officials. He wrote that he had violated the public meeting law by holding meetings several times.
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Those meetings included city council speaker Julian Jones and county administrator Stacey Rogers, who openly sparred with Madigan.
The compliance committee said it could not determine that the county deliberately created a subcommittee to discuss matters privately, in violation of the public meeting law.The Baltimore Banner first reported the complaint. Later, the committee reversed course and allowed public comment.
Members of the committee have indicated in public meetings that they do not support the establishment of an oversight committee. There is also ongoing debate about requiring her IG in the county to follow rules similar to the Maryland Public Information Act when seeking county records during an investigation.
The Baltimore Banner sent a Public Relations Act request to the University of Baltimore on November 29 to review emails exchanged between Cotten and Olszewski, as well as emails exchanged by the committee’s email address. bottom. The university had yet to submit the record by Friday.
The committee will effectively convene on February 2nd. The subcommittee must revise the Redacted Recommendations and submit them to Olszewski and the County Council by February 16, pursuant to executive order.
The Commission said the final report will also contain “information known to the Commission members relevant to decision-making on the recommendations,” providing “information on how these recommendations were developed.” increase.
The final report aims to recommend legislative and non-legislative changes to Madigan’s office.