By Adam Pagnucco.
Roughly a year after the Montgomery County Ethics Commission began receiving complaints about Chief Administrative Officer Andrew Kleine’s promotion of his book, the county has finally banned the use of tax dollars to purchase it.
The ethics commission’s report states that county employees began complaining about Kleine “during the summer of 2019.” The commission requested that the county’s inspector general begin investigating Kleine on September 4, 2019. The inspector general completed the investigation and sent a report to the ethics commission on December 12, 2019. At some point thereafter, Kleine offered a proposal to “cure” the issue which the ethics commission accepted and signed on July 1, 2020.
The ethics commission’s report states that the county bought 89 copies of Kleine’s book from October 1, 2018 through September 30, 2019 for a total of approximately $3,000. It contains no information about book purchases since then.
On July 20, 2020, Deputy Chief Administrative Officer Fariba Kassiri – who reports directly to Kleine – sent out the email below to county managers advising them that county funds cannot be used to purchase Kleine’s book so long as he remains a county employee. The amount of county money spent on the book between September 30, 2019 and July 20, 2020 has not yet been reported.
From: Kassiri, Fariba Fariba.Kassiri@montgomerycountymd.gov
Sent: Monday, July 20, 2020
To: #MCG.Department & Office Directors MCG.DepartmentOfficeDirectors@montgomerycountymd.gov
Subject: Restricted Book Purchase
Department and Office Directors,
In accordance with the CAO’s Proposal to Cure certain violations of the Ethics Law and the Ethics Commission’s subsequent acceptance of the proposal on July 1, 2020, I am advising you that your Department/Office should not purchase any copies of City On The Line by Andrew Kleine, so long as Andrew remains County employee. This means no purchases can be paid for through the Oracle system, by P-Card or by reimbursing employees for the purchase of this book.
Please share this information with your appropriate staff and let me know if you have any questions or need additional information.
Deputy Chief Administrative Officer
Montgomery County, Maryland
Offices of the County Executive