Tuesday, January 4, 2011

County Council Bill Regarding Monetary Settlements

Councilman Benoit has proposed a County Council bill requiring all legal settlements over $100k be authorized by the council. The bill covers any legal settlement over $100,000 which limits council oversight to the largest cases. In the past three years only two cases exceeded that amount. Council approval is required for more minor expenditures and in my opinion this shouldn't be any different. We will just have to wait to see where everyone comes down on this one but I can imagine that County Executive is going to push to get this shot down in order to preserve the power he has.
A hearing on the bill is scheduled for Jan. 18 in the Council Chambers and all are encouraged to come and listen and chime in on the debate. Check the council website for details.

5 comments:

  1. I spoke with Councilman Benoit on this issue. He assures me that the three Democrats support this bill. Likewise, I spoke with Republican Jerry Walker. He assures me he'll listen closely to the debate prior to making his decision.

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  2. We're talking $100K here. That's a sizable amount. In my opinion, we need checks and balances on these type of fiscal matters. After all, how often does the county pay out these kind of settlements?

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  3. To me, this is a perfect example of the bipartisanship process needed on all levels of government as well as providing the checks and balances to the ever increasing power provided to County Executive. The bonus to this is that this extra duty will not be a time consuming one as it is an infrequent occurrence.

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  4. It's an interesting bill. I will say, working as an attorney for a neighboring County (Prince George's), if we had to go to the County Council for settlement authority over $100K, we pretty much would be meeting with the Council on a regular basis, due to volume and size of lawsuits. Anne Arundel, however, probably doesn't have the same kind of problem on this issue as Prince George's does, however.

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  5. @ Steve, To the best of my knowledge in the last 3 years there have been only 3 such cases that were settled for over 100k so I would definitely say that AA doesn't have the same legal issues as PG. I just think that the transparency this brings to the counties finances is very much needed especially at a time when county employees (minus School Board execs) are going to be asked to suck it up and take furlough days and the such.

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