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Broomell Does Limbo Rock for $100K Cecil County Auditor but Lands Flat on 4-1 Vote

September 25, 2012
By Nancy Schwerzler

It was just a few months ago when the Cecil County Commissioners danced the Charter Cha Cha, swaying back and forth before deciding to allow no money for the transition to Charter government later this year. But on Tuesday, Commissioner Diana Broomell (R-4) did a solo version of the Limbo Rock, bending over backwards to demand $100,000 for an “auditor” to serve the new County Council.

No matter that in June she led the charge to cut funds proposed for charter transition and suggested a token sum of about $15,000 for possible consultation with a lawyer on charter government issues. After a few turns around the legislative dance floor, she and the other members of the Three Amigos faction—James Mullin (R-1) and Michael Dunn (R-3)—decided on a zero figure. [SEE Cecil Times report here: http://ceciltimes.com/2012/06/cecil-county-commish-do-charter-cha-cha-on-funds-for-transition-to-new-form-of-government/ ]

But in recent weeks Broomell has been talking about what she sees as a need for a full- time auditor, reporting only to the new County Council and tasked to investigate financial and policy issues, to “balance the government out.” Broomell lost her bid to become County Executive in the Republican primary to fellow Commissioner Tari Moore (R-2).

On Tuesday, Broomell demanded a vote on a proposal to spend $100,000 on the auditor post, taken from the county’s “fund balance,” or reserve funds designed to cover unforeseen contingencies.

Claiming she had received “emails” from constituents on the issue, Broomell asserted “the public does feel this is part of the checks and balances.” She said the future Council, on which she will sit for the next two years before her term expires in 2014, “can make this as big as we want it to be.”

Moore objected to the proposal, saying it pre-supposes a war between the County Executive and the County Council. “If I’m the County Executive or if I’m on the County Council, in no way do I anticipate a contentious relationship,” Moore said. Moore is facing Democrat Pam Howard, the former county Treasurer, in the November election for County Executive. Moore’s commissioner/council term has two more years to run.

“You should recuse yourself from voting” on the auditor proposal, Broomell told Moore.

“I will not recuse myself,” Moore responded. “I have a right to give my opinion.”

Commissioner Robert Hodge (R-5) said he would not support Broomell’s plan for an auditor but said he would support setting aside a fund for the council to seek a wide array of outside expert advice, ranging from engineers to lawyers to accountants or other specialized professionals who might assist the council in decision-making as consultants on an “as-needed” basis. He said it was “premature” to assume the council would need a full-time, new government employee on the county payroll.

Mullin and Dunn voiced support for Broomell’s auditor plan but questioned how to pay for it. Mullin said he wanted to see “cuts” in other spending to pay the costs and Dunn agreed. The commissioners should “use an eraser to sharpen the numbers,” Mullin said, cryptically.

“I’m not in favor of cutting services for our citizens so we can grow government and employ more people,” Hodge said.

Despite the obvious reluctance of the other commissioners to join her unconditionally, Broomell stepped up to the limbo bar and called for the music: a vote. “Now let’s do the limbo rock…” She was alone on dance floor, as the vote tally was 4-1 against her proposal.

Yet, as always, Broomell will be back again with her plan, but with some unspecified off-setting spending cuts to pay for it.

However, making money available for the auditor post is not the same as actually filling it. Since the Council will not exist until after the election, the outcome of contests for two Council seats as well as the County Executive race could determine whether the new Council decides to hire anyone for the proposed slot.

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5 Responses to Broomell Does Limbo Rock for $100K Cecil County Auditor but Lands Flat on 4-1 Vote

  1. BobbyG on September 25, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    $100,000?? Highest paid employee in the County to be Broomell’s puppet? Wow, they will be coming out of the wordwork for this. If the Amigo’s get this through I think it is time for the State’s Attorney to get involved in this corruption.

  2. Broomless 2014 on September 25, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    I’d like to see her provide a job description for this position. I’m guessing that she views it as an invesigator to pursue her version of “special interests”.

  3. Rick O'Shea on September 26, 2012 at 7:47 am

    The money would be better spent on a Parlimentarian to run the meetings so that Broomell could be controlled.

  4. Brian Arellazano on September 26, 2012 at 11:10 am

    OBBT… Office of Broomell Bootlicking Toady

  5. F Gaylord Moody III on September 26, 2012 at 10:34 pm

    I do think an internal audit function could be a valuable oversight added for the taxpayer protection, especially relating to financial management of bid proposals, land preservation purchases, the sewer plants, and other public works projects. For example, people who are on septic and wells should not have to contribute to the capital costs of building new sewer plants, nor to their ongoing operations. Commissioners ignored recommendations to increase sewer hook ups and billings. The county “backed into” becoming the owner of sewer plants and then kept those sewer plants due to subsequent stupid decisions. When the Treasurer proposed earlier this year to shift to an annual billing for sewer bills, it sent a red flag that the financial management was unduly stressed and the ability to run the sewer plants as enterprise funds was an unrealized concept.

    However, the correlation of potential financial mismanagement of sewer plants as an enterprise fund that would not be subsidized by septic system property owners and the need for an internal auditor is faint to nonexistent. The county is just too unsophisticated to accept a program of constructive reviews.

    The local elected officials with the most extensive business background are the Treasurer and a commissioner, but their experience is entrepreneurial. And, there is a vast difference between the management and the ethics of county government and businesses where the financial well being of the executive is the same as the financial well being of the enterprise. I do not think there is a single elected official in office at the county level that has had an extensive background in large bureaucracies where internal audit was a meaningful function. Without an actual working experience with internal audit the blind would be leading the blind trough a field of live mines.

    Broomell is yet again running amuck and challenging Mullin and Dunn to plumb the depths of ineptitude.

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