Recalling a time when St. Mary’s Commissioners respected the taxpayers’ tax dollars and made efficient use of PUBLIC facilities.
SAINT MARY’S COMMISSIONERS BOARD: Hires Lobbyist Bruce Bereano To Work Magic In Annapolis, Holds Public Hearing For Speed Cameras In School Zones
UPDATE: The competing proposal for a lobbying firm to be employed for the first time in history by St. Mary’s County was promoted by Delegate Brian Crosby who is said to be furious that the $70,000 proposal to bamboozle the Marxist Moore Administration on behalf of the Commissioners was rejected.
UPDATE: The competing bid for lobbying for St. Mary’s Board of Commissioners in Annapolis was nearly four times the price of engaging Bruce Bereano!
What liberal elected official would be ticked off that the Commissioners didn’t take that ultra-pricEy oral proposal?
Click Below to see who gives to Brian Crosby after the bell.
Remember, Democrats are really all about the money when it comes to politics…HINT – This cat has big ears and, using his ears alone, could take off from an aircraft carrier and hover over Annapolis…kinda Cuckoo too…and this cool cat really represents the leftist views of Montgomery County more than St. Mary’s.
LEONARDTOWN, MD – The St. Mary’s County Commissioners, on a three to two vote at the November 7, 2023, meeting of the Board of Commissioners, approved a motion by Commissioner Eric Colvin to hire the renowned lobbyist Bruce Bereano for $15,000, to look out for the interests of St. Mary’s County in the 2024 session of the Maryland General Assembly.
The meeting minutes reflect that Colvin’s motion was seconded by Commissioner Scott Ostrow and approved by the board, with Commissioner Randy Guy providing the third vote.
Commissioner Mike Hewitt and Mike Alderson voted against hiring Bereano, who was convicted of fraud charges, which were later overturned on appeal in the nineties and disbarred from practicing law from the Maryland Supreme Court.
Bereano appealed his conviction to the Supreme Court, which ruled that a provision of federal law under which he was convicted was not a crime. Subsequent rulings proved that none of his clients actually were harmed financially. As a result, Bereano could resume his lobbying business and, for the past forty years, has led the industry in Annapolis as the highest-paid and sought-after performer for those with interests in legislation being considered by the General Assembly.
Senator Jack Bailey (R. St. Mary’s, Calvert) said he appreciated the assistance in promoting the county’s interest in Annapolis as he observed important work performed by Bereano earlier this year when a budget provision to provide ADA vessel for transporting visitors to the St. Clements Island State Park was suddenly removed from the budget by the Moore Administration. “Working pro-bono for the St. Clements Hundred organization and supporters of the funding of the vessel, Bereano was able to convince the Moore Administration to restore the approximately $700,000 in funding to provide for the vessel, which provides handicapped access to visitors.”
Senator Bailey said he represents two counties on a broad range of issues and is glad to have any assistance that he can get from the St. Mary’s Board of Commissioners.
Delegate Matt Morgan (R. St. Mary’s) told THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY that he opposed the county spending county tax funds on hiring a lobbyist. “This is unnecessary and is the first time in the history of St. Mary’s County that the Board of Commissioners found any need to have representation on behalf of the county beyond our elected legislative delegation,” said Morgan.
Morgan posted this statement on his Facebook Page:
“Have you ever had one of those days where you wake up to a beautiful day full of hope only to get a piece of information that leaves you talking to yourself and shaking your head the rest of the day?
I had a day like that yesterday when I received a text message early in the morning that the County Commissioners of St. Mary’s were considering hiring a lobbyist to handhold their agenda in Annapolis.
This was odd because, for the upcoming session, the County Commissioners have requested the lightest legislative agenda since I was elected. There is not a single proposal that is even the slightest bit controversial, and their agenda will easily be passed into law.
It struck me as even stranger that I had not been notified about this proposal.
After a few phone calls, I was told that Delegate Todd Morgan and Senator Bailey were in full support of this hiring. It’s worth noting Delegate Crosby and myself are both opposed to this proposal. Later on Tuesday, during the regularly scheduled commissioner’s meeting, in a close 3-2 vote, the County Commissioners of St. Mary’s decided to fund this proposal.
I strongly oppose this decision. I believe this allocation of taxpayers’ money is unnecessary, wasteful, and reeks of cronyism.
This does leave me wondering why. Throughout the 386-year history of St. Mary’s County, there has never been a need for a professional lobbyist until now.
During my time as St. Mary’s Delegation Chair, our pass/fail record was so successful there was not a single bill that failed to become law that the current Chair (Delegate Todd Morgan) wants to resubmit as legislation. It is hard to say the past system was not successful when no one can seem to give me an example of it failing. Yet, our County is now on the hook for paying a lobbyist without a clear list of goals or what he is supposedly to accomplish.
On a side note, now that St. Mary’s County Commissioners have decided to engage in the practice of professional lobbying, I will also explore the possibility of drafting legislation prohibiting all elected officials, including State Senator and Delegates like me, from accepting donations from any lobbyist employed by our county government.
The perverse incentive structure of professional lobbying, where elected officials receive campaign donations and kickbacks only to have the ability to reward with taxpayer consulting contracts, should be deterred. I would hope the Delegation agrees with that.
I want to publicly thank Commissioners Mike Hewitt and Mike Alderson for voting NO to this contract.”
Engagement letter of services of Bruce Bereano
PUBLIC HEARING ON SPEED CAMERAS IN SCHOOL ZONES
On the same day Sen. Bailey provided his views to THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY, the Commissioner Board held a public hearing on November 14, 2023, to approve speed cameras in school zones.
At the hearing, St. Mary’s Sheriff’s Department Captain Shawn Moses told the Board that while existing law allows the county to provide speed cameras for schools on county roads, legislation would have to be enacted in the 2024 General Assembly to allow the placement of speed cameras on state roads.
NEEDS STATE LEGISLATION: As Great Mills High School, Chopticon High School, Leonardtown High School, Leonardtown Middle School, St. Mary’s Forest Center, Spring Ridge Middle School, Ridge Elementary School, Park Hall Elementary School, Dynard Elementary, Oakville Elementary, Captain Walter Duke Elementary, Banneker Elementary, Margaret Brent Middle School, Mechanicsville Elementary are all located on state highways.
The proposal, which had been brewing at the St. Mary’s Sheriff’s Department for three years, was revealed to be of little use, as the schools on the state roads have the most speeding problems.
Assistant County Attorney John Houser and Capt. Moses agreed that enabling legislation was required and that implementing speed cameras in school zones would not be possible until July of 2024 if the legislation passed through the General Assembly.
Several citizens spoke in favor of the speed cameras, including the principals of Oakville Elementary School and Banneker School as well as retired Deputy Sheriff Skip Stewart and Deputy Sheriff Ed Evans.
Thomas Rogers of California said he favored speed cameras as long as all proper and needed steps were taken, and Paul Kelly of Medley’s Neck testified as to the need.
Delegate Todd Morgan (R. St. Mary’s, Calvert) appeared at the public hearing, offered his support of the speed camera proposal, and commended the Sheriff for his labors in bringing the proposal to the Board of Commissioners.
The Charles County Sheriff’s Department has bungled the implementation of speed cameras in school zones for the past ten years. It is currently in the process of refunding illegally collected fines from motorists. The Charles County Sheriff also was revealed in reporting in THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY to have subcontracted legal aspects of the speed cameras to the Howard County Police Department.
In past years, former County Commissioner Thomas Mattingly offered his attendance each week in Annapolis as proof that he was influential in lobbying for St. Mary’s County concerns. During that period, Commissioner Mattingly could never add funds for widening Rt. 5 through Leonardtown or obtain a traffic light at the St. Mary’s Hospital or the intersection of Rt. 5 and Moakley Street.
After a groundbreaking in 2018 for the widening of Rt. 5, the one-mile section of the road expansion, including shoulders and turn lanes, was finally completed five years later in 2023. There is still no traffic light to slow traffic speeding through Leonardtown, making entering the highway from Moakley Street or the hospital a virtual death trap.