Frederick County Council Discusses Check Return To Baltimore City

The money was reimbursed for assistance provided during the 2015 riots.

Frederick, Md. (KM) There was some discussion on Tuesday by the Frederick County Council on the reimbursement from Baltimore City following last year’s riots.

County Executive Jan Gardner has come under fire for declining an amount of over $49,000 from Baltimore for providing sheriff’s deputies and correctional officers to help restore order.

During Tuesday’s meeting, Councilman Billy Shreve said he wanted to know why the county returned the money. “We were given a reimbursement. The money didn’t come through the Council and then it was returned. That’s the aspect I’m interested in,” he said.

“Since it was not a budgeted item and never made it into the budget, it was then able to be sent back, returned, declined as an executive decision,” responded Wendy Kearney, Senior Assistant County Attorney.

Councilman Shreve made a motion calling for a formal investigation into this matter. “I want to know what the mutual aid agreement states and also what the charter states,” he said.

Kearney said the county has mutual aid agreements with other jurisdictions, especially when it comes to assisting with fires and other emergencies. “The premise of those agreements are that everyone bears their own expenses, and there’s is not contemplation in those agreements for compensation,” she said.

Councilman Kirby Delauter also supported a formal investigation by an outside individual or entity. “That’s part of the investigation to have somebody independent to look at it,” he said. “We don’t have the staff to do it, and the County Executive is like the fox in the hen house. You’re going to investigated yourself,” he said.

But Council Vice President MC Keegan-Ayer said a formal investigation was not necessary. “I would rather-instead of doing a formal investigation which escalates this to a whole other level–why don’t we just ask the question, whether it’s an e-mail or in a conversation, ask the question, have her explain her thought process,” said Keegan-Ayer. “I think it’s a lot better than escalating it to the formal investigation level.”

The Council voted down the motion for a formal investigation.

Keegan-Ayer said she would bring that up with the County Executive.

Meanwhile, County Executive Gardner defended her decision to return the money to Baltimore City. She told the News-Post the County has a “social contract” to help jurisdictions in times of crisis.

Two other jurisdictions decided against accepting any reimbursement for helping Baltimore restore order last year. Montgomery County returned a $295,000 reimbursement check, and Baltimore County declined to seek reimbursement of $257,000.