Redmer Announces Plan to Hire Inspector General for Baltimore County
Recently, there has been a tremendous amount of controversy surrounding Baltimore County Public Schools, including indictments levied against former Baltimore County School Superintendent Dallas Dance, issues surrounding school overcrowding and construction, and ongoing concerns from parents about violence, bullying, and behavior issues.
Much public and media attention has focused on the failure of the former BCPS Superintendent to disclose his outside income; on the county schools’ procurement process; and on calls for a robust, independent audit. I, too, share the outrage over the former superintendent’s actions, and agree there is the need for an independent audit. However, I am equally troubled by the lack of governance and seeming disengagement on the part of the County Executive that has allowed for a disappointing culture to take root in which these and many other failures have become par for the course.
These issues are merely symptoms of a much larger issue in Baltimore County government. As I travel the county and speak with citizens, parents, and teachers, it is clear that there is widespread discontent and a pervasive feeling that the current administration simply does not care and is not listening.
I hear repeatedly about the county’s failure to fund basic needs such as routine maintenance, employee training, equipment, facilities, and technology. Every year, the county budgeting process is a scramble for discretionary dollars. Sadly, there is no multi-year budget process in place and no hope or reassurance that if priorities can’t be addressed in this year’s budget, they will be in the next. In fact, it appears that the only items to make their way into the recent county budget were those expenditures that would play well in a statewide race for governor. Good politics, poor leadership!
Collectively what we’ve seen in recent weeks is the failure of county leadership on multiple fronts to challenge and provide necessary oversight. Taken together, these failures are an example of the results that follow disengaged leadership.
Throughout my career, I have been fortunate to run large and small organizations, both in the private and public sectors. I have a track record of success in attracting a professional team, communicating a vision, leading by example, and producing organizational and operational results. Most importantly, I remain engaged in daily operations and watch for lapses that might damage my organization's mission and reputation.
On day one, my first act as County Executive will be to create the Office of the Inspector General, tasked with implementing a top-to-bottom review of our entire county government. The Inspector General will assist our administration in building a blueprint for a realistic and comprehensive long-term plan by identifying and prioritizing areas that need improvement. Most importantly, however, the Office of Inspector General will establish a greater baseline for much-needed transparency and accountability. Without this comprehensive review, we cannot hope to institute the enduring change that the county desperately needs.
As County Executive, I want to set a new vision for what our county can truly achieve. I have lived in Baltimore County my entire life, was educated in the public school system, raised my family here, and built my career here. No one could ever claim that Baltimore County is not a wonderful place to live, work, and raise a family. But the status quo is no longer good enough. We can – and we must – do better.
Alfred Redmer, Jr., is Commissioner of the Maryland Insurance Administration, former Minority Leader of the Maryland House of Delegates, and a candidate for the Republican nomination for Baltimore County Executive.