The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) just can’t stop violating the Open Meetings Act. This time it involves the Commission, its Executive Committee, the Commission’s Retirement Board, and several of the Retirement Board’s committees. Trustees include MoCo Planning Board member Gerald Cichy and Carrie McCarthy of the MoCo Planning Department. Casey Anderson is currently chair of the M-NCPPC as well as of the MoCo Planning Board.
Their latest decision is linked and posted at the bottom of this post. Here is the summary of the Open Meetings Act Compliance Board’s decision:
As we explain below, we conclude that the Commission and its Executive Committee failed to make sufficiently detailed disclosures to the public before and after meeting in closed sessions. The Commission also violated the Act by engaging in closed-door discussions that exceeded the scope of the statutory provisions that the Commission claimed as authority for excluding the public.
As Chair of the MoCo Planning Board and M-NCPPC, Casey Anderson has been the recipient of an inordinate number of adverse decisions by the Compliance Board. The Montgomery County Council President Gabe Albornoz has also upbraided Anderson and the Planning Board for abuse of its consent agenda and failure to register lobbyists as required by law.
In a letter to the County Council replying to Albornoz’s concerns, Anderson stated “Whenever anyone points out gaps in our procedures, we never hesitate to make improvements.” His contemptuous response to the latest finding by the Compliance Board shows this to be false.
Instead of leading M-NCPPC into figuring out how to comply properly with both the spirit and the letter of the Open Meetings Act, Anderson gave a lengthy diatribe excoriating the Compliance Board for their decision (starts a little before 39 minutes into the video). He says that complying with the Act “would not serve the public well” or “serve the interests of open government.” Anderson even accused the Compliance Board of undermining “public confidence in open government” — a rather bizarre accusation when you’ve just been found in violation of the Open Meetings Act. Again.
I’ve tracked several slap downs of M-NCPPC and the Montgomery County Planning Board here on Seventh State. The Montgomery County Council has also made clear their concern. Anderson, the Planning Board and M-NCPPC don’t care and continue to show contempt for the law. No one on M-NCPPC said a word in response to Anderson’s denunciation. The Planning Board continues to support his approach.
The question now is whether the Council is going to do anything about it or if Anderson is going to continue to ride roughshod over the law, the Council and the public.
Here is a link to the complaint.