Thursday, July 5, 2012

Washington County: Strike Two

Apparently, there's been more than one discussion of handing $100,000 over to prospective businesses by the Washington County Commissioners.

An incentive approval is described in the July 5 Herald-Mail by reporter Andrew Schotz:

An aerospace company is getting a five-year, $100,000 cash incentive to start operations in Washington County.
Mecaer Aviation Group, or MAG, of Philadelphia will do helicopter and fixed-wing maintenance, repair and overhaul at Hagerstown Regional Airport, according to Washington County Administrator Gregory B. Murray.
The Washington County Board of Commissioners unanimously agreed on Tuesday to give MAG an incentive of $20,000 a year for five years.

Please read the whole article ... it's short.

If this has been handled over two years like the "Cone of Silence" deliberations -- see the earlier blog post -- it's almost certain that we have a pattern and practice of Open Meetings Act violations in Washington County government. Given the extremely poor disclosure found in the minutes associated with the Cone of Silence, it's not even clear how many of these potential incentives the Washington County commissioners have talked about over the past one, two, five years.

That's not transparent local government.

One thing is transparent, however: a "unanimous vote" referred to in Schotz' article is what the Open Meetings Compliance Board refers to as a "ceremonial ratification" of a decision that has been made already. It does not rise to the standard of disclosure found in the law.