Montgomery County Taxpayers League

The Voice of Taxpayers of Montgomery County, Maryland

Author Archive: admin

MoCo IG: “Waste and Abuse” in Gun Program

The County’s Investigator General released a report uncovering $600,000 in no-bid contracts for police “training”:

Montgomery County awarded more than $600,000 in no-bid payments to nine companies that had ties to county police officers and were part of a controversial tuition-assistance program, Montgomery’s inspector general said in a report released Monday….Inspector General Thomas J. Dagley concluded that the close ties among the companies, employees and students enrolled in the classes have ‘and will continue to expose county taxpayer dollars to waste and abuse until more comprehensive guidelines and monitoring are put in place.’

Read the full story and Council reactions at the Washington Post »

Money Doesn’t Buy Test Scores

The Maryland Public Policy Institute debunks the myth that increased school spending necessitates higher achievement:

The fact is that the level of education funding has little to do with how well students are taught…..One of the most comprehensive reviews of studies on education funding was done by Dr. Eric Hanushek of Stanford University. He found that only 27% of 163 studies found a statistically significant relationship between an increase in per-pupil funding and student achievement. Of those studies, two-thirds showed an insignificant correlation and the others showed a negative correlation. Another study of Dr. Hanuskek finds that input-based education policies, such as increased funding, don’t produce results unless you change incentives within schools.

Read the full article at the Maryland Public Policy Institute »

Gun Coupons

The county improperly subsidized the purchase of private firearms:

The weapons classes were set up by a firm with ties to a Montgomery police officer. Fellow officers enrolled in the classes, and their tuition was paid by the county’s tuition assistance program. A suit filed by the county Wednesday accused the firm and officer who helped run it of fraud. Officials allege that the classes were designed with a special enticement to get officers to enroll: County-subsidized guns they could take home for personal use. The tuition program is not supposed to cover books or other materials, including guns.

Read the full article at the Washington Post »

Gazette: “Tense union negotiations”

The Gazette documents county pay raises that beat inflation threefold. Nice work if you can get it.

According to council staff director Steve Farber, salaries for members of [Gino] Renne’s union [United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1994/Municipal and County Government Employees Organization] increased by 96 percent from 1999 to 2009. That percentage represents increases from cost of living adjustments and scheduled annual raises. During the same time period, the cost of living within Montgomery County increased 36.6 percent, Farber said.

In just the most recent three-year contract period, which ends this fiscal year, salaries have been increasing at 7 percent to 8 percent each year. Health benefits are also extremely generous, with the county paying 80 percent of insurance premiums for MCGEO members; employees of the school system have, on average, 90 percent of their premiums paid by their employer.

Read the full editorial at the Gazette »

Post: “Cash on the barrel”

The Post’s editorial board wants to know whose interests the Council really serves

In effect, local officeholders are so beholden to the union that they have forfeited their obligation to exercise independent oversight over contract negotiations. One result is that the average salary for a Montgomery County teacher, $76,483, is the highest among suburban school systems in the Washington area…But what confidence can the public have that officeholders in Montgomery are carefully weighing competing interests when most of them are held hostage to the overbearing influence of a single union?

Read the full editorial at the Washington Post »

Gazette: “County, labor union at an impasse in contract negotiations”

The Gazette reports on the contract fracas between the county and the MCGEO employee union:

Gino Renne, president of The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1994/Municipal and County Government Employees Organization [said] ‘But the county will have to get off their high horse and take a leap of faith with their work force,’

Doug Prouty, president of the Montgomery County Education Association, which represents teachers [said] the teachers’ union is aware of the county’s financial difficulties, but would not rule out seeking pay raises…

‘We do not have resources to pay for additional employee compensation this year,’ [Nancy] Floreen [Montgomery County Council President (D-At large) of Garrett Park] said. ‘I do believe everybody understands that.’

County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) also has said it would be difficult to give pay raises to employees…

Councilman Philip M. Andrews (D-Dist. 3) of Gaithersburg … criticized by Renne last year — when Andrews served as council president — for saying the county could not afford cost-of-living or step pay increases for employees…said Monday that pay raises remain unaffordable.”

Read the full article at the Gazette »

Post: “In Montgomery County, scare tactics by teachers union are the norm”

From the Washington Post’s editorial board:

Unsurprisingly, the MCEA, backed by its anointed candidates on the Montgomery County Council, the county school board and the local delegation to the state legislature, has been able to squeeze enormous concessions from the school system in past contract negotiations. Over the past three years, the salary of a typical teacher with 10 years of experience has risen by 23 percent.

Read the full editorial at the Post »