In The Frederick News-Post’s editorial on Nov. 13, the paper states, “When it comes to how states fare in being open and transparent, Maryland is, well, lousy.” The editorial goes on to say, “But Hogan has yet to seek funding so the commission can operate.”
The News-Post is fully aware the Maryland Open Meetings Compliance Board is issuing opinions. In a headline on Oct. 6, the paper printed that the “State of Maryland finds Frederick County Government Board violated Open Meetings Act, failed to address violation.” I can only assume your intent was to point out that the commission has no power to remedy violations.
In addition to this article, this paper printed my letter on this matter, calling on county officials to either terminate the responsible Board of Zoning Appeals members or to conduct an investigation with the board members testifying — open session and under oath. I find it puzzling that The News-Post feels improving accountability is so important at the state level, but has remained silent on this page when it comes to a county violation of the same act.
While I have spoken three times on this matter before the council and asked for action through an email, our county officials have remained silent. There has not been one official that has spoken out in public in support of the board’s opinion to publicly reprimand the BZA for their improper behavior.
In the News-Post editorial, this paper concluded that more needs to be done to ensure accountability to the public. I fully agree that all levels of government need to improve transparency, including county government. As part of the “fourth branch of government,” The News-Post has a responsibility to hold our elected officials accountable.
Why has this paper remained as silent as our county officials when a clear violation of the law occurs? For those interested in reading the compliance board’s decision, it can be found on my Facebook page, “Ethics in Frederick County Government.”