The issue came up during Tuesday’s County Council meeting.
Frederick, Md. (KM) The discussion about reimbursement from Baltimore City to Frederick County following last year’s rioting continued on Tuesday at Winchester Hall. Councilman Kirby Delauter related the contents of a letter from Sheriff Chuck Jenkins which said on September 2nd, 2015, the County applied for reimbursement for the expenses it incurred helping Baltimore restore order in April of last year.
On December 22nd, 2015, a check totaling $49,736.87 was received by the County from Baltimore. It was deposited in the general fund. County Executive Jan Gardner returned the money to Baltimore City last month.
“There’s eight months that it sat in the general fund and it wasn’t allocated,” said Delauter. “So I’d like to why it sat in the general fund and wasn’t’ allocated. Why we didn’t talk to the Sheriff; why we didn’t get his opinion on whether or not he wanted to turn it back or not. Eight months this money sat there and did nothing.”
He also said this money was not placed in the current budget. “So I do think that falls under the purview of the County Council to approve those funds and not have them sent back by an executive that thinks she doesn’t answer to anybody,” said Delauter.
His colleague, Councilman Tony Chmelik, agrees. “I think that the process should have been followed that it should have been deposited in the general fund and we should have had a conversation,” he said. “I do think it was inappropriate for it to be taken just by the County Executive and just taken out.”
“I won’t get into whether or not that money should be returned or not,” Chmelik said. “I think the process is very important to be followed.”
Council President Bud Otis said maybe this issue should be revisited. “I can understand some concern how the money was held here for a period of time before it was returned,” he said. “I think we need to make sure we understand and in agreement on what this mutual aid really means.”
He said the Council approved a mutual aid agreement with the City of Baltimore on October, 2015. But he says there’s no mention of any compensation if either party responds to the other during emergencies.
Last year, the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office provided deputies and correctional officers to assist Baltimore City when riots erupted following the death of Freddie Gray. He died while in police custody.