An independent audit of the Frederick County sheriff’s agreements with the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is needed now even more than before. The Frederick News-Post called for an audit a year ago, after an annual 287(g) Steering Committee meeting, in the June 24, 2017, editorial “An idea worth trying.” Since then, the more community members learn about the ICE agreements, the more they want answers to serious questions.

In response to calls for such an audit, the county’s Internal Audit Division (IAD) has issued a memorandum addressed to the sheriff. The memorandum focuses in a very limited way on one of the two ICE agreements, the Intergovernmental Service Agreement to house ICE detainees from around the region.

At the sheriff’s annual 287(g) Steering Committee meeting on June 13, the sheriff touted this memorandum as evidence rebutting claims that his agreement with ICE is costing the local taxpayer, even as the review failed to support the sheriff’s claim that it costs $16.68 a day to house ICE detainees in the county’s Adult Detention Center.

This memorandum has actually muddied the waters, raising more questions than it answered, some of which could prove even more costly to the taxpayer.

Several points are worth noting. The memorandum states “The procedures and work performed by the IAD constitutes a non-attest engagement and does not fall under the guidance of Government Auditing Standards.” Non-attest is defined as an engagement where independence is not required. Salaries and budgets for the “Internal Audit Division” are controlled by the county, making this a true “internal” review, not the independent and objective audit that has been called for.

The memorandum may have opened up a new can of worms for the sheriff, the county and the taxpayer. The memorandum claims the actual cost of housing ICE detainees is $53.25 per day, which differs significantly from the sheriff’s estimate of $16.68. ICE is currently reimbursing $83 per day.

The memorandum also rightly points out that per the U.S. Office of Management Budget Circular A-87, “only allowable costs may be funded.” Allowable costs are generally actual reimbursable costs for which there is no surplus or profit to the local government entity. The ICE agreement states “The Service Provider shall not charge for cost, which are not directly related to the housing and detention of detainees.” So, if ICE is reimbursing the county at $83.00 per detainee per day, and the allowable cost is $53.25 per day, what’s happening to the remaining $29.75 per detainee per day?

During my tenure with the Department of Justice, at one point I worked on resolving audit recommendations where there were findings of overpayment to local law enforcement agencies. The remedy was to return the money to the federal government, a result that was rarely popular with local governments. Could Frederick County be at risk of having to return a significant amount of money to the federal treasury — possibly millions of dollars?

I have been made to understand that the Internal Audit Division’s memorandum has been forwarded to the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General. So we may get that independent objective audit after all. It is only through transparency and an honest review that our community can determine the value of these agreements and the actual cost to taxpayers.

Karl Bickel

Democratic candidate for Frederick County sheriff

(44) comments

Boyce Rensberger

rbtdt5 and others: Jenkins has not had eight years of experience. He's had one year of experience eight times over. He's still doing things the way he did as a First Year.

threecents

So, Jenkins says the Sheriff's office has been making a lot of money from ICE, which is run by Homeland Security, and Jenkins has used that money to help run the Sheriff's office, thus saving us money and receiving much praise. Now Karl says that is against Homeland Security billing rules, and it is possible they could knock on the Sheriff's door and use the Sheriff's own numbers, which we know from that brief internal review are way off, and present him with a 15-year bill for overpayment. The sheriff needs to respond. Is Karl's concern valid? And Jan should be on top of this.

KarlBickel

Yes threecents, my concern is that we just don’t know. According to the conflicting claims, we could either be losing a considerable amount of money on the deal or possibly collecting money the county is not entitled to and subject to repayment. Either way it could pose a problem. It appears to have been mishandled from the beginning, lacking oversite and accountability.

DickD

That is what you get when someone with just a high school degree is in charge!

threecents

I too am an elitist, and am not happy with a sheriff that only barely graduated from Frederick High. Of course he does have a lot of appropriate work experience to balance that out a little. The thing is that we have a better choice in Karl, so why not take it?

KellyAlzan

Three - Jenkins never had much work experience. He worked as a detective, and had the lowest case closure rate in the department. He never had any management experience, never oversaw a team of deputies, never was involved in making key decisions for the department or even a team.

threecents

There is another person who might want to weigh in on this - Chuck's good friend and county exec candidate Kathy Afzali. Or are Jan and Kathy afraid to say anything against Chuck before the election??

Boyce Rensberger

Excellent piece, Karl. But this is only one of many other issues where Jenkins fails Frederick County. Maybe the paper will let you submit further pieces going into those matters.

A big one is the opioid epidemic. Jenkins once said words to the effect that it wasn't his problem. He said the problem was in the home, and it would just have to work itself out. I don't think he has begun any program to deal with it, and yet it is killing more Frederick Countians than all conventional crimes put together.

He should be working with public health experts, who know the issues but don't have deputies roaming the county and being in touch with the victims. Shouldn't the two groups be working together?

From my own limited experiences talking to deputies about Jenkins, I have the impression that he is not widely liked. In fact, he's created a toxic work environment. Deputies in uniform were too professional to tell me out loud what they think, but I can read scowls on faces. One did tell me: "Let's put it this way. I'm really looking forward to my retirement date which is coming up in ..." I don't remember the timing, but it was only a few months away.

We deserve better.

Mickey7

[thumbup] Boyce! I got the same impression from deputies. Anyone that knows Karl Bickel knows he is much more qualified to run the Frederick Sheriff's Department then Jenkins.

DickD


Thank you for a very well written column, Karl.  There can be little doubt that we need an outside audit, even though the Sheriff does not think so.

What I feel should be included in the audit are"
    - Cost of buildings to house prisoners, divided by the cost to house any prisoner.
    - All utilities for the facility - again divided by the cost of any prisoner.
    - All extra costs to maintain the prison - mowing lawns, heating and cooling, repairs, etc.
    - All maintenance personnel, including guards, cooks, and maintenance with the cost of benefits included.
    - All costs to bus prisoners to jail, courts, etc.
    - All other costs associated with running the prison.

Hopefully, I haven't left anything out, if I have please feel free to add to it.  The Sheriff only counts the cost of food and medical care at $16.68.  The County bills at $83.00 per day, the internal audit shows $53.25 per day.  As you pointed out, we do not know where the difference between $53.25 per day and the reimbursable $83.00 per day goes.  That is certainly one question that has to be answered.  As the County pays for all of the Sheriff's costs, it should go to the County.  Did the County get that money?  

Also, as you have pointed out, any Sheriff's or other police department with and ICE agreement is not allowed to charge more than the actual costs.  If they do, the money must be returned to the federal government.

You have left open a bigger question, in my mind, which is if the actual costs are greater - and I think they are greater than $83 per day, can the County also be reimbursed for the actual costs.

Now, here is a question, why would the Sheriff make the costs so low - $16.68 per day, even when an internal audit (not that it is a good audit) clearly shows the costs of $53.25 per day?  

I know your credentials are impeccable, you have two master degrees, but Sheriff Jenkins definitely needs help.  Doesn't he only have a high school degree, never attaining the rank of corporal, before being elected Sheriff?  

Best of luck in your campaign, we need someone that truly understands law enforcement and management.  The Sheriff's department has a large staff, we do need your help.

Mickey7

Excellent work, Karl! I see the Chuckie's Sycophants are responding with their typical ignorance. Pathetic! I wonder if Matt Dillion needs a job? Never mind, he's too Progressive for FC.

elymus43

He keeps coming back election after election

phydeaux994

So does Vladimir Putin.

Rick Blatchford

I will confess to a certain ignorance of the details, but from my casual following of Karl Bickel's charges, a number of things seem clear. Bickel covets the job of Frederick County Sheriff. Bickel seems to have more allegations than facts - sadly too common in today's world. To that point, it is my understanding that Bickel previously charged that the county was not being sufficiently reimbursed for housing ICE detainees. His complaint seemed to be the county was losing money. Bickel's rant today seems to complain about the opposite. He claims the county may be overcharging and actually making money on the ICE contract. The only fact from Bickel's charges that I'm certain of is that he wants to be sheriff. As for his charges, it seems he's bouncing from one extreme to the other. Not a trait that I would look for in my sheriff. [wink]

DickD

So, you prefer a poorly educated man with merely a high school degree to someone with two masters degrees and more professional experience? Heck, he was even Jenkins boss at one time.

Yes, Bickle wants the job, are you saying Jenkins doesn't? Give me the man that wants it.

If we are looking for bad traits, ask some of the Deputies about Jenkins being vindictive. Not to mention that trip down to the Rio Grande River to ride up and down it with an assault weapon slung over his shoulder to make him look like a bully. And he took money from FAIR, a known racist organization!

rbtdt5

I didn't know Karl had experience being a sheriff.

Boyce Rensberger

Bickel certainly does have experience in the sheriff's office. Under a prior sheriff Karl was Chief of Law Enforcement Operations.

Way before that he was a street cop and detective in DC. At some point he joined the U.S. Department of Justice's COPS (Community Oriented Policing Services) program. For years he traveled all over the country studying and training police departments in the most advanced methods of policing.

He knows how it's done.

Mickey7

Karl has far more Law Enforcement experience then Jenks!

rbtdt5

But no experience being the Sheriff. Chuck has 8 years of first hand experience. He is doing a fine job and will continue to do so for another 4 years

DickD

He was second in command, Jenkins boss!

DickD

Here is some of Karl's experience:
List any relevant experience serving the community:
Second in command of the sheriff’s office under a previous sheriff
Frederick County Ethics Commission
Frederick County Human Relations Commission
Frederick County Substance Abuse Advisory Council
Montgomery College Criminal Justice Advisory Board
Frederick County Public Schools Tech/Prep Criminal Justice Advisory Board
Montgomery County Public Schools Criminal Justice Program Advisory Board
Retired (U.S. Department of Justice)
And he was a patrol office in D.C.

This is his web site.
http://bickel4sheriff.com/

rbtdt5

And now Jenkins has 8 years of experience being 1st in command. So I say give him 4 more years as he has done a great job so far.

KellyAlzan

Rbt - chuck Jenkins is sheriff solely because he won the popularity contest. That all elections are - a popularity contest. When Jenkins first ran for sheriff there were two other candidates far more qualified than Jenkins; Domer and Tobery. If Jenkins cared about police leadership - he would have at least taken the corporal exam

BstD59

Robtdt it is obvious you are planning on voting Party over candidate. Jenkins has had 8 years to prove himself, and all he has done but fail. I suspect you would support Bickle if he was a Republican because it is obvious that Bickle is the better candidate.

mdcommuter

DickD, stop with the arrogance. Higher education does not guarantee any higher level of intelligence or greater ability to serve in any capacity. It just means someone was able to persevere and memorize enough to get their ticket punched. I have known many people who didn't even complete high school who had more common sense and intelligence than some with PhD's.

DickD

Oh. I quite agree, there are some with PHDS that don't know enough to come in out of the rain. But Karl has proven his ability and used his education to a high degree. But, just look at Jenkins, what he's said on costs and apparently not aware of the consequences for over charging ICE. Now, I don't really believe ICE was over charged, I believe our true costs are much higher. That is why we need the audit from an outside independent.

By the way why are you upset with pointing out Karl'so education? Do you see that as a weakness of Jenkins

tatt2ed

Dick.. Is FAIR a "known racist organization" to any organization other than the SPLC?
You question is fair enough (no pun), but I have to question the SPLC on their assessments of organizations.
I cannot find any other credible source stating FAIR is a racist organization.
Not a fight, just seeking information.

KarlBickel

As far as coveting the job of Sheriff Rick, I have had a great career and have been enjoying a quite comfortable retirement. Many community members and sheriff’s office personnel have asked, encouraged, me to run for sheriff to address numerous leadership problems ranging from poor morale among personnel, to a failure to adequately address the opioid epidemic, to improving fiscal management, to embracing the value of our state troopers rather than trying to push them out of the county, and much more. My plan is to right the ship so-to-speak and prepare others for leadership and return to retirement. As for the allegations (actually observations and questions) the whole idea is to provoke the production of facts. Yes I did raise the question of a possible loss of a million dollars or more to the local taxpayer after an examination and commentary by a CPA, and still believe that is a possibility. The point of this current observation is that there are a lot of numbers floating around now and the public deserves to know the truth. There may and likely is a loss but if there would be the profit that the sheriff claims there could be economic consequences attached to that as well. The sheriff has clearly created a mess that it will take an outside independent and objective examination to clear up. Not a trait you should tolerate in a sheriff.

Mickey7

You got my vote Karl

DickD

I am with you Karl. [thumbup]

public-redux

“I will confess to a certain ignorance of the details...”

That would have been the place to stop writing. The rest of your comment reinforced your opening clause.

shiftless88

Rick; he is using the numbers supplied by the Sheriff himself just to show that even with that analysis there are issues. Do you deny the issue of overcharging the feds?

tonyc51

Sour grapes, political mud slinging or a fair assessment, you decide? I already have.

awteam2000

An audit would answer that question then you wouldn’t have to decide without sufficient information.

KellyAlzan

Sounds to me like the Audit does not factor in anything but food. Such as jail staff costs, linens, jump suits, toilet paper, soap, medical expenses, shower and commode water.

matthewboh

[thumbup] - Absolutely. Too think that only food costs should be included is ludicrous. I am happy to pay a reasonable amount, but don't hide behind "fake" numbers.

DickD

I think Jenkins claimed he was including medical, which was about $10 per day - if my memory is right.

DickD

Look at my list above, Kelly and feel free to add to it.

Titanman123

A few more things we can add to the audit...the use of official resources for personal bidding (like all those trips to Martinsburg) and perhaps his mistress can testify.

KellyAlzan

Are u implying Jenkins is not a faithful man to Mrs jenks?

DickD

Can you enlighten us a little more, Tit?

Titanman123

Common knowledge, just ask a deputy. Trouble in paradise!

KellyAlzan

Also, tax payers need to know the true costs of providing free security to The Great Frederick Facebook Fair, a private entity. Those cruisers do not operate for free. We don’t get free tires, gas, belts, or oil. Couple yrs ago I overheard one deputy say he worked 2 shifts; that’s OVERTIME pay,

Tax payers need true numbers. Not the bogus numbers that Jenkins had Troy Barrick put together a few years ago.....

DickD

Those costs are probably included as part of the normal operation. Maybe they shouldn't be, but I bet they are.

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