HOW THEY SPEND YOUR MONEY Freeloading Judges Made Big Salaries But Hit the Taxpayers Up for a Free Meal
(From a 2010 review of expenditures of St. Mary’s County Government and Courts) LEONARDTOWN, MD — Each and every week, the St. Mary’s Board of Commissioners reviews all the payments for invoices submitted by the county departments for work performed for the county government.
The Commissioners are given time to review the bills and then vote in open session to approve and authorize payment.
The following is the latest in a series of articles listing and sometimes explaining the expenditures, but for the most part, since the St. Mary’s Commissioners have approved these payments made on behalf of the taxpayers, the legitimacy of these items should be explained by the Board who is entrusted by the public with the operations of their county government.
The St. Mary’s County Parks and Recreation Department operates a swimming pool next to Great Mills High School.
A recent expenditure for umbrellas in the amount of $628.65.
St. Mary’s County may be a very generous employer as the taxpayers paid for swimsuits for the lifeguards at the Aquatic Center. $327.84 was paid to First to the Finish Sports for Hind guard suits. How many other county employees get to be outfitted in spandex paid for by the taxpayers?
Recreation activities to keep kids busy in the summer apparently don’t include the admonition to pack a bag lunch and bring a thermos jug of cold water. The Commissioners approved the expenditure of $5,554.00 for 2,333 meals for the New Horizons program, at $2.38 per meal. The activity took place last summer between June 22 and July 31, 2009.
While the lunches were prepared by the public schools, who were paid by the taxpayers for the meals, they presumably were nutritious but were certainly educational in teaching young people that there indeed is a free lunch.
The Recreation program also sprung for tee shirts purchased from KNC Marketing Inc. in the amount of $55.56 for an unspecified number of shirts for a Child Care program, perhaps for children who while not homeless, perhaps were shirtless, or just needed to have tee shirts to remind them of the excellent child care program operated by the county’s recreation department. The Judy Center also was earmarked for another $55.56 for tee shirts for that Child Care center and the Evergreen School Age Center also was provided with $55.56 in tee shirts, also purchased from KNC Marketing Inc. Child Care support staff in Division 21 were also given $55.56 worth of tee shirts. Division 7 was not left out and got their $55.56 in tee shirts bought from the same company. Ditto for Lettie Dent SAC: $55.56 for them too. Hollywood Elementary, Leonardtown Elementary, Greenview Knolls, Green Holly, all got their allotment of tee shirts for the same cost of $55.56 each.
Not only do the taxpayers pay to care for the children, they feed and clothe them too but the kids likely are thanking Obama, mmmm….mmmm….mmmm…
Just in case one might have thought there were plenty of places to sit down in St. Mary’s County, such as in school cafeterias or one of the fire halls, social halls or countless other places in which there are folding chairs.
But, according to county records, a member of the Emergency Services Committee decided that there must be even more opportunities for folks to sit on their cans and went to BJ’s Wholesale Club Inc. and paid $499.75 for folding chairs. The St. Mary’s Board, using the budget of the Public Safety Department, reimbursed the member for the chairs, which were clearly bought outside of whatever purchasing policy that the county government has on the books. The least expensive chairs that BJ’s advertises are $34.99 each. Wal-Mart has them for $22.99 each. But the purchase of the chairs, when the county already has so many and the nation is in a deep recession shows that when a volunteer member of a county committee decides to shell out bucks for a commodity that is already of sufficient quantity on hand, there is no one minding the store to say no.
You might wish that more of the hobos would set up camp in the woods near the Lexington Park Library. The monthly payment by the county commissioners to the Three Oaks Homeless Shelter, Inc., which pays the CEO of the shelter, Lanny Lancaster a $86,000 salary, picked up a monthly payment of $6,168.37 on Sept. 13, 2009.
The Board approved the payment of $6,065.00 to Breckford International for the installation of headphones and speakers in police cars.
In a press release issued in 2008, Breckford described their contract with the Sheriff’s Department: “Tactical Solution Partners (Breckford’s new name) has announced the receipt of a two-year contract award to fit out Ford Police Interceptors for the St Mary’s County (Maryland) Sheriff Department. This two-year indefinite-delivery / indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) or blanket purchase agreement (BPA) contract has an initial order quantity of 19 marked and unmarked vehicles. TTSR expects to begin work on the vehicles for St Mary’s County in the second quarter of 2008.
A St. Mary’s Deputy was given $783.00 in advance county funds to spend on meals while he was away for training for 18 days from Sept. 14th through Oct. 2, 2009. The Deputy was allowed $14.50 a meal, three meals a day. Someone could introduce this officer, who by all other news coverage by this newspaper is a hard-working guy, to the following deals on meals: the Whopper Jr. is just a buck at Burger King; McDonald’s has a great salad at less than $5; Chick Fil A has either a generous grilled chicken sandwich or a salad for $5. A footlong sub can be picked up at Subway for $5; Wal-Mart has a foot-long sub for just $3.99; mainstreet diners like Linda’s Café are located all over America and typically feature lunch specials at less than $6 and dinner specials at less than $10. There are many outfits like Great American Steak Buffet and Golden Corral which offer large selections of entrees, salads, and vegetables at under $10. Guidelines on spending while on training should be developed by the Sheriff’s Department to hold the line on spending. Should the St. Mary’s Sheriff’s Department note that the Deputy was thrifty and didn’t use all of his advance meals payment, and provide that information, it will be shared with our readers. Both deputies were provided the advances for meals.
Dover Downs Hotel and Casino was paid $104.00 for an unnamed employee of the Sheriff’s Department for accommodations on St. Mary’s Sheriff’s administrator Brian Eley on Sept. 18, 2009. Eley was also paid a travel advance of $66.00 for the same day.
The boys in the Hood will be glad to know that when their rear ends get in an uproar again at IHOP, the cops will be well-equipped with new Tasers. St. Mary’s Sheriff’s Department’s new supply of ten Tasers was purchased from Lawman Supply Company, Inc. at a cost of $8,200.00. At $820 each, these Tasers were fairly pricey. A Taser can be purchased from Defense Products 101.com for a mere $449.95, a price difference that is a lot less electrifying to the taxpayers. Hopefully, the cheaper Tasers will give a jolt to the lawbreaker and be less of a jolt to the taxpayers.
The Sheriff must have gotten the inmates busy working on stuff as “rollers, paint, and lumber” were bought from Lowes Hardware at a cost of $923.43.
Only the Circuit Court would buy calendars in September. Let’s hope they got 75% off if they were 2009 calendars and at the same time if they were 2010 calendars, it appears Sonny Burch must have quit handing out his handsome free calendars. Maryland Bank & Trust still has free calendars but the Circuit Court staff must not know how to use the calendars available on their computers or perhaps, like Deputy States Attorney Ted Weiner, all they do with their computers is play Minesweeper. The cost of calendars, tabs, and covers from Staples was $212.49.
Why in the world the Drug Court would need petty cash is something they will have to explain, our readers will simply be provided the information that $300.00 was paid to William Tench by the Circuit Court for “petty cash”. Since we know that Circuit Court Judge C. Clarke Raley leaves the bench early every day to play golf at Breton Bay, the money isn’t going to pay for his green fees, and like many Maryland Judges who spend their afternoons in cocktail lounges, according to one Maryland Judge, Raley is just getting fresh air. But it is unknown what a Drug Court would need “petty cash” for, supplied by the taxpayers.
The Bell Family Partnership is still being paid $3,000 per month for the lease of the old Bell Motors Used Car lot and building to store the big fancy trailers that the county got from the taxpayers in a Homeland Security Grant. First, the Federal Government bought these huge hazardous materials trailers filled full of gear which will dry rot before it ever gets used, then they used to be stored in a parking lot next to the State Office Building at Leonard Hall. The Sheriff used to store his extra police cars in the parking lot of the headquarters. Then Commissioner Tommy Mattingly (D. Leonardtown) cooked up this deal to rent the Bell Motors building and lot while he and Dan Raley (D. Great Mills) schemed to build a new facility to store these trailers. It’s too bad the county just can’t give these things back to the feds. But this is an excellent example of government by Boneheads and Good Old Boys. There was no competitive bid allowed on this sudden need to have a building to lease at the same time that the Bell family decided to consolidate their operations and no longer needed the old garage.
No one can blame the Bell Family for wanting to lease their property but the Mad Hatter Government could have opened up the process for others who might have had a better deal for the taxpayers.
But Jackie Russell (D. St. George’s Island), Kenny Dement (D. Piney Point & Wildewood), Dan Raley, and Mattingly never bothered to find out. Only Commissioner Larry Jarboe (R. Golden Beach) objected. On Sept. 13, 2009, the Board approved payment of $9,000 to the Bell Family Partnership for rent for July, August, and September.
Human Resources advertised in the Afro-American Newspaper for vacancies for jobs in spite of a hiring freeze and in spite of the fact that the newspaper has no circulation in St. Mary’s County or anywhere in Southern Maryland. The ads, approved on Sept. 13, 2009, cost $412.50 and must fit into some sort of agenda but surely isn’t one that is concerned with either hiring local minorities or aiding the taxpayers of St. Mary’s County. The circulation of the Afro-American is only in the Washington and Baltimore area.
Chesapeake Communications was paid $1,980 for 12 phones in the expenditures approved for the Information Technology Department.
Public Safety Director Dave Zylak, who was defeated for reelection as the St. Mary’s Sheriff in 2006 by Sheriff Tim Cameron, was appointed by Krazy Kenny and the Taxocrats as the new director of Public Safety. Zylak spent $2,400 with Chesapeake Embroidery on reflective lettering for a vehicle. Likely one of the vehicles which sit inside the Bell Motor garage. Perhaps Dave can take a flashlight inside the dark garage at night and see it light up.
The Tourism Department laid out $96.60 for flags. Perhaps it’s time for St. Mary’s County flags to be sold to those who they are now given to, as a kind of a favor to the poor, broken down, and exhausted taxpayers. The Commissioners approved this expenditure.
On Our Own of St. Mary’s Inc. was paid $9,528.00 showing that they aren’t living up to their name.
While taxpayers are in for a lot of pain every week when the St. Mary’s Board of Commissioners meets and approves a new batch of payments from the treasury, the pain is shared by some. $300 was approved for payment to Dr. K. Bernard Chase for a tooth extraction for D. Brown on Aug. 31, 2009.
In spite of St. Mary’s Board of Commissioners trying to constantly refer to the St. Mary’s Nursing home as a private group, the facility really is a county government entity. On Sept. 8, 2009, $2371.80 was approved for meals for Marcey House. Either the alcoholics at Marcey House were eating at the Nursing Home or the residents of the Nursing Home were living at the Marcey House. But either way, they are both county facilities, with the chief difference that the Nursing Home serves local residents while the Marcey House imports drunks from other areas in spite of the fact that there is an abundance of drunks living here in the county and there is no need to import them.
Commissioner Dan Raley is still feeding at the public trough. On Sept. 2, 2009, $25 was paid for Raley to attend a United Way luncheon. The position of county commissioner is mandated by law to be compensated with a salary. When those elected to office get into their positions, they then vote themselves retirements, health insurance, expenses and free meals paid for by the taxpayers. The Public Information Officer, Karen Everett, also attended the United Way function and got a $25.00 meal paid for by taxpayers.
At the aforementioned Marcey House, where those with substance abuse problems go to lollygag around while they sober up, the taxpayers pick up the bill for everything because, more than any other reason, the taxpayers don’t know they are picking up the bill. On July 31, 2009, the Marcey House purchased “coffee kits” from Superb Coffee & Snack Inc. for $102.50.
Any area grocery store carries coffee on sale in large containers, coffee filters, bulk sizes of sugar or sweeteners, and big containers of creamers and the only thing left to make coffee is the water.
The old folks have a tough time of it just staying above ground but one expenditure by the Commission on Aging ought to knock the eyeballs out of anyone’s sockets. The St. Mary’s Commissioners approved the purchase of 4 table covers from Baron Barclay Bridge Supplies at a cost of $155.75. The company’s website lists the price of the covers as $29.95, the taxpayers were billed at a rate of $38.93.
The Tourism section of the Economic Development Department bought an ad from Indiana Printing & Publishing at a cost of $800. It is amazing that the population of the county managed to grow, in fact, double in size in the past 35 years without such advertising. Other tourism ads were purchased from State Ventures LLC for $2,400 and Crier Media Inc. for $866.00.
It’s about time that the Chamber of Commerce starts picking up the tab for advertising with all the motels and restaurants chipping in and leaving the poor taxpayer alone.
The employees of Public Safety must have gotten thirsty as Director Dave Zylak sent out to McKay’s for drinks at a cost of $10. Most taxpayers have to pay for their own drinks.
Just when you thought that Public Safety had enough trailers and trucks waiting for someone to spill a bottle of bleach so they can declare a hazmat emergency, we find out that Zylak has bought another trailer. The Board of Commissioners approved the payment to Bay River Enterprises Inc. of $1,850; again, no evidence of a bid on this purchase.
The Information Technology Department blew $4,236 on 4 printers bought from Hartford Computer Group. GeeDoggy! They must have some great printers to blow more than a grand each on them.
When the Circuit Court Judges, who make $140,352 a year, decide to have a Judicial Luncheon Meeting at Kevin’s Korner Kafe in Leonardtown, they hit the taxpayers up for a free meal. The freeloading Judges spent $25.31 for lunch and billed you for their meals. While Kevin’s is a great place with good food and service, it should be enjoyed by those who pay for their own meals and not passing the tab to the hapless taxpayers. Of course, the recession-depression has been underway for more than two years but don’t expect the liberal idiots who serve as Judges here to give the taxpayer a break.
The Sheriff turned in bills for $7,865 for leased vehicles in August and $6,633 for July. These are new vehicles used by the vice and narcotics officers in undercover work. Of course, they look like cop cars and SUVs because cops can’t help themselves. The Sheriff can save tax money by using the seized vehicles he is taking from convicted drug dealers. The drug dealers have a wide variety of vehicles and since those vehicles were in use by professional drug dealers the imitation cop drug dealers should be able to look the role while they walk the talk.
Sheriff’s Office supplies totaling $2,634.20 were paid by the county on Sept. 15, 2009, on the Wal-Mart credit card.
Deputy Edward Willenborg was given a travel advance of $297.00 for a trip that took place from Sept. 27th to Oct. 2nd.
Don’t expect States Attorney Richard Fritz to drink the same water as the residents of Leonardtown have to drink. He orders bottled water and gives the bill to the taxpayers. The bill on Sept. 15, 2009, was for $19.85.
The Treasurer’s Office, run by the wife of the Mayor of Leonardtown, who is responsible for the delectable city water that runs through the county offices’ pipes, won’t drink the water. St. Mary’s Treasurer Jan Norris put in for payment of $74.04 for Deer Park Mountain Spring Water on Sept. 15, 2009.
In one of the more striking examples of BS spending, the Elections Supervisors had an expenditure approved and paid for a “wrist pillow” for $30.32. Couldn’t this employee who needed such an apparatus bring their own pillow to work to rest their wrist? Are you having fun, taxpayers?
St. Mary’s County is still operating a bar and grill out at the county’s public country club. The operation is now losing $200,000 a year, and still, the Board refuses to go along with Commissioner Jarboe’s proposal to lease it out to a private operator. A caterer could use the facility for off-site work, which would help make it pay for them. And with a lease arrangement, there would be no deficit to the taxpayers. When the county taxpayers have to fork over $200,000 in tax money to pay the bills isn’t it logical to ask who is drinking and eating free? On Sept. 20, 2009, the Board approved $209.90 for food and $1,851.20 for beer. Another $1,332.00 was paid for food supplies. The amount paid in Sept. for sales tax was a dismal $71.98 which proves that there is no business in the new bar and grill. Those who have eaten there say the food is bad and service is slow.
The County Administrator isn’t about to drink that Leonardtown water, although there are no complaints about the water from those living there, says the Mayor. But the taxpayers paid $25.58 for John Savich to have some Deer Park Mountain Spring Water in his office.
So much for the hiring freeze: the Human Resources Department spent $5,099 with Post-Newsweek Media Inc. for vacancy ads and was approved by the Board on Sept. 18, 2009.
The Judges must like Kevin’s Kafe in Leonardtown, and who can blame them as the food is good. But the tightwad Judges also like to stick you with the tab, and on Sept. 20, 2009, the bill for these fat cats came to $30.21.
(Editor’s Note: Kevin’s Kafe moved to the site of the old Willows Restaurant on Rt. 5, and 2023 closed its doors.)