I am hoping this is the last installment of the saga of Commissioner Robin Frazier’s abuse of the County treasury to pad her pocketbook with bogus changes for mileage on her personal vehicle.
Where last we left off, three of the Commissioners voted for a new county policy on personal vehicle mileage charges by county staff and themselves. They tried to do it in a gracious way by avoiding a pointed discussion on the abuse of the former policy by Commissioners Frazier and Rothschild but Frazier was so foolish as to assign the brunt of the conversation to herself, saying she took it as a personal affront. Rothschild wasn’t on hand for the vote as he was reported to be on vacation; that probably spared an additional hour of bloody
battling over the matter.
As it was the three Commissioners simply voted to do the right thing by emphasizing that county pool cars be used for trips out of County; that the Commissioners not charge personal mileage for inter-county trips; and that the Commissioners would not be paid more than the nineteen cents per gallon allowed employees for use of their cars when a pool vehicle could have been used. Missed in the discussion was the fact that senior management and Commissioners can take a pool vehicle home with them at night when it is anticipated that they must be at an early morning meeting - that eliminates the necessity of someone having to drive in to the “motor pool” very early in the AM from home so they can leave directly from their residence and arrive at the meeting on time.
Meantime, Commissioner Frazier was a bit tardy in turning in her mileage reimbursements for the months of January and February 2012, perhaps in hope the whole Mileagegate issue would blow over. On June 15 Frazier had the County Clerk submit two expense account reports, having Dave Roush sign off on them for the first time as her “Department Head”. It is certainly a good thing that Commissioner Shoemaker made the move to cut off Frazier’s Special Bonus Plan because the County Comptroller cut her a check on the very day the reports were submitted for $821.00 for mileage on her personal vehicle and some parking in Annapolis.
Most of Frazier’s trips to Annapolis were for business that goes with her job title – trips to MD Assoc. of County meetings and doing something with the Carroll Delegation, but the MD Farm Bureau dinner was a bit of a stretch. Of course the Commissioner had to drive past the County Office Building and motor pool on the way from her home to Annapolis, so a pool vehicle certainly could have been picked up en route.
The local trips that Frazier felt she should be compensated for was a trip to Bear Branch Nature Center on January 13th, a secret meeting of the Commissioners which I believe was held in clear and intentional violation of the Open Meetings Law. That took some brass, but wait, it gets better in February for inter – county trips to Martins Westminster on Feb. 3; to a Kiwanis Club meeting on Feb. 8th; back to Martin’s Westminster on Feb. 11th, to the Lehigh Cement Plant on Feb. 23rd (hmm, was a free dinner on Lehigh included with that trip?) and then off to the Carroll Community College on Feb. 28th.
This whole episode of two Commissioners sucking off the public teat to boost their income has been tawdry at the least. It’s not just a tale of greed and misappropriation; it is one which challenges county managers on their willingness to abet the misappropriations and it provides incredible insight into the personalities of two Commissioners who can’t tell right from wrong or the public pocketbook from their own. Let’s hope this is the final installment on this subject until and if either ever chooses to run for office again. My cynical nature tells me that it is still too early to call this a prologue so I will continue to ask for the Commissioners expense reports for their remaining terms in office.