Today at 3:30pm, the Montgomery County Council is meeting in closed session to consider the latest problems surrounding Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson.
Specifically, despite a zero tolerance for alcohol and drugs policy, Anderson had a full bar containing “over 32 bottles of hard liquor in his office where he routinely creates mixed drinks and distributes them on a significant scale.” This occurred even though Anderson acknowledged that he “was aware that the planning commission generally prohibits alcohol in the workplace.”
Anderson tried to partially excuse his actions by explaining that the drinking occurred at “the end of the workday, after regular business hours.” In response to whether he had pressured anyone to drink, Anderson told the Office of the Inspector General “Absolutely not.” Except that Anderson’s office remains a place of work even if we trust that no one ever drank during the workday. People could feel pressured to join in since he is the top boss at both the Commission and Planning Board.
The Council will be hard pressed to avoid disciplining or firing Anderson if actions have been taken against other employees for violations of the alcohol policy. As the person who is supposed to set an example and enforce rules as the Commission Chair, Anderson should receive greater rather than lesser penalties. And I’ll bet that none of the other rule breakers had a fully stocked bar with over 32 bottles of alcohol.
Unfortunately, the Council has had a penchant for ignoring Anderson’s violation of serious rules with impunity, including regular and serious violations of the Open Meetings Act, failure to register lobbyists, and inappropriate use of the consent agenda. If the Planning Board did not make serious decisions that have enormous financial impact, it might not matter so much. But they do, and Anderson’s response has been to excoriate the compliance board.
And why shouldn’t he? Despite his past violations and arrogant contempt for the law, the Council hasn’t taken meaningful action. With his tight relationships on the Council, they’ll probably do the equivalent of slapping him halfheartedly with a Nerf baton.