Editor’s Note – The following media statement was issued by Calvert County Government Friday morning, Nov. 4. TheBayNet.com has attempted to contact Calvert County Planning Commission Chairman Maurice Lusby and Vice Chairman Mike Phipps. More on this story as it develops.
PRINCE FREDERICK, MD – Nov. 4, 2016 – The Calvert County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) today conveyed their decision made under the authority to consider personnel action to suspend the Chair and Vice Chair of the Calvert County Planning Commission (CCPC) with removal pending following opinion from the Maryland Attorney General.
The BOCC’s decision to suspend the Chair and Vice Chair, which will ultimately result in removal, but may also result in reinstatement following a future public hearing, follows recent actions that revealed violations of County fiscal and procurement policies and procedures, the Maryland Open Meetings Act, and denial of due process through its handling of Zoning Text Amendment Case 16-04. Any of the three acts constitute sufficient grounds for removal.
After having spent a significant portion of its budget for the year in the first months of the budget year, the CCPC leadership was directed by the BOCC to cease the commitment of public funds until a financial expenditure plan was finalized and approved. The CCPC willingly disregarded that direction and incurred expenses on numerous occasions following notification to cease.
On three separate occasions in 2016 CCPC leadership entered into closed session, violating state law that requires a public body to “make a written statement of the reason for closing the meeting and a listing of topics to be discussed” and publish that written statement for the public.
Finally, the BOCC found that CCPC leadership took steps to deny due process through an administrative veto of Zoning Text Amendment Case 16-04 that directly affects the public interest.
“Based on recent actions by the Planning Commission, the BOCC is working to re-establish procedural order and preserve public funds collected from our hard-working taxpayers,” said Commissioner President Evan Slaughenhoupt.
The suspension of the Chair and Vice Chair took place upon notification on Nov. 3, 2016. Suspension of the Chair and Vice Chair will not impact operations of the CCPC and the CCPC will continue to operate as scheduled.