The following information was shared with Scott E’s Blog:
Updated Information on Flanagan lawsuit 3/21/2022:
HOWARD COUNTY ADMITS NEPOTISM AND VIOLATIONS OF OPEN MEETINGS AND PUBLIC INFORMATION ACTS
Numerous violations of the Howard County’s rules against nepotism, the state’s Public Information Act and Open Meetings Act have been admitted by the County’s Office of Law, in answers filed last Friday in Bob Flanagan’s lawsuit against Howard County. Repeated decisions by Calvin Ball’s sister, Jamila Ratliff to withhold public information requested about Mr. Ball’s close political ally, lobbyist and developer attorney, Tom Coale triggered Flanagan’s lawsuit in September. Mr. Ball gave his sister-in-law authority to refuse Public Information Act requests at her discretion, while she was also being paid as a consultant to his re-election campaign. The County Employee Manual prohibits hiring family members who will be working directly for another family member. https://www.howardcountymd.gov/sites/default/files/2021- 11/EM%20Revised%2011-2- 2021_Everbridge%20Info%20Line%20Info%20Added.pdf. at page 67.
The violation of the Open Meetings Act was revealed by emails that Ms. Ratliff had withheld but that the Office of Law was forced to produce under court rules. Shaina Heranandez, a political appointee in the county executive’s office was advisor to the committee whose emails were withheld. Ms. Hernandez made recommendations that resulted in the violation of the Act. The County’s Office of Law also admits a failure to appoint a member of the committee to receive training on the requirements of the Act, another violation of the law. The Committee appointed by Mr. Ball published a recommendation for development of the Court House and other county owned property in Ellicott City. Control of development would be turned over to a non-profit corporation whose board would be appointed by the County Executive. The real estate would be prepared for development at County expense and conveyed to the non-profit for free, according to the Report released by Mr. Ball.
For further information contact RobertLFlanagan@gmail.com
See the original content send to Scott E’s Blog here: mpia draft release 3.21.2022
Of note: I believe that Jamila Ratliff is County Executive Ball’s Sister in Law and not Sister as stated in the update above.
Additional information sent to Scott E’s Blog on the statement above:
“Howard County strives to adhere to the letter and spirit of the Maryland Public Information Act and Open Meetings laws in all cases, and its track record is strong. Any statements indicating the County has violated or is admitting a violation of its nepotism policy are categorically false. The County’s nepotism policy applies only to classified employees. As such, nepotism claims regarding executive exempt employees, as noted in this article, are expressly excluded from the County’s merit system as defined in section 1.100(b) of the County code.”
Past articles on this topic:
Note: I have reached out to Howard County for a response to this update. If I get one by tomorrow evening I will publish it on the Blog.