The president of the union that represents active and retired Baltimore County police officers said Thursday that a July pension board vote was “one-sided” and orchestrated by County Administrative Officer Fred Homan.
“There is a real lack of oversight,” said Cole Weston, who is a former member of the pension system board of trustees. “The pension board is largely comprised of members who are department heads who answer directly to [Homan].”
Weston made his comments during an interview about a July vote by the board that approved a $25 million loan from the pension system to the county to pay for a new recycling center at the Texas landfill in Cockeysville.
Homan, as county administrative officer, controls not only the project in question, but is also a member of the pension board.
Homan is listed as the pension board representative for the county executive according to a list provided by the county last month. Other members include:
•Baltimore County police Chief Jim Johnson
•Keith Dorsey, director of Budget and Finance
•Edward Adams, director of Public Works
•George Gay, director of Human Resources
•Retired police Major Joseph Zerhusen, who currently serves as Chair of the Board.
•Michael Day, president of the Baltimore County Professional Firefighters Union
•An eighth position is currently vacant due to Weston’s retirement.
Despite the fact that Homan is not listed as board chairman, Weston said Homan controls the agenda and the votes.
“Clearly [Homan] controls the direction of the pension system as it relates to investments and on policy issues,” said Weston.
Homan, who became county administrative officer in 2007 under then-County Executive Jim Smith, is widely regarded as arguably the most powerful man in Baltimore County government.
Prior to his appointment, Homan was the long-time director of the Office of Budget and Finance. During that time, government insiders routinely referred to the agency as “the Office of Fred” and county government as “Fred’s World.”
Homan previously served on the board as budget and finance director. Following his 2007 appointment by Smith, Homan began attending as the appointed representative of the county executive—something Weston said had not happened before.