Browsing the "News" Category

Transportation agencies are correcting problems auditors found

December 5th, 2012 | by Len Lazarick

Maryland Department of Transportation has put new measures in place to ensure that all five of its agencies are taking correct steps to modify contracts with approval from the Maryland Board of Public Works, the powerful board consisting of the governor, state comptroller and treasurer. The department has also implemented a revised contract justification process, which requires agencies to provide more documentation when they seek contract authorization approval from the board, which meets today.

State GOP convention has the usual firing squad and lynch mob

November 30th, 2012 | by Len Lazarick

The preparations for this weekend’s Maryland Republican Convention are in place. The firing squad for the party leaders has been forming its circle, armed with hot-air popguns. The lynch mob for party chairman Alex Mooney has bought a bungee cord. All is normal for a party that has control of local government in half of Maryland’s counties, but gets routinely clobbered at the statewide level. The snarky sniping and angry grumbling are fairly routine. Senate nominee Dan Bongino has some ideas for fixing the party.

Highway agency has continuing contract problems, auditors find

November 28th, 2012 | by Len Lazarick

The Maryland State Highway Administration wrongfully authorized modifications and extensions to architectural and engineering contracts without the approval of the Board of Public Works, auditors have found. They also found that the highway agency is not providing proper justification for the board to approve maximum contract awards. These findings are similar to findings in a previous report on SHA contracts. The audit also found problems with the speed camera program in highway work zones.

Commentary: Big Ten move may be good deal, but secret process was bad

November 21st, 2012 | by Len Lazarick

Every month the University System of Maryland comes asking to have contracts large and small approved by top elected officials after a public procurement process that usually involves requests for proposals and multiple bids – an often long and cumbersome process. There are perhaps aspects of the move of the University of Maryland College Park athletics programs from the Atlantic Coast Conference to the Big Ten that will eventually get this kind of open, public and official scrutiny. But as it stands now, this deal involving tens of millions of dollars – none of it taxpayer funds, we’re told – was conceived, negotiated and executed hastily and in secret until its swift approval by an unelected Board of Regents on Monday

Bipartisan group seeks collective compromise to ‘fix the debt’

November 20th, 2012 | by Len Lazarick

A bi-partisan group called "Fix the Debt" has been set up to urge members of Congress to “compromise” and come up with “a grand bargain” that will avoid driving over the “fiscal cliff” of massive tax hikes and budget cuts scheduled for Jan. 1. The goal is “comprehensive and long-term solution to the debt problem,” said Michael Enright, former chief of staff of Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley. “The math involved in this is inescapable” and “it will involve pain and sacrifice for all of us.” “Everyone’s going to have to give a little bit,” said Chip DiPaula, former chief of staff for Republican Gov. Bob Ehrlich

Audit faults evaluations by Disabilities Department

November 19th, 2012 | by Len Lazarick

The Maryland Department of Disabilities is not consistently providing timely annual eligibility reevaluations to beneficiaries of its $1.2 million Attendant Care Program, which reimburses personal attendant services for 157 individuals with severe physical disabilities, auditors found.

Alcohol industry blames flat sales in Md. on 9% tax

November 15th, 2012 | by Len Lazarick

Representatives from the alcohol industry told the Maryland Board of Revenue Estimates Wednesday that the state’s year-old 9% sales tax on alcoholic beverages has produced stagnant growth in liquor sales in the past year, while growth in neighboring Virginia and Delaware was above the national average. Banking and real estate panelists also speaking at the board’s economic advisory forum said state and federal regulations will hinder potential private sector growth as the federal fiscal cliff approaches.

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