Balto. Co. Council Wants More Scrutiny for Revenue Panel

November 11, 2011

Some Baltimore County Council members are looking to increase oversight of the county Revenue Authority, a state-created agency that manages the county’s parking lots, golf courses and recreational facilities.

County Councilman David Marks said Friday that he and some other members considered adding the Revenue Authority to the ethics bill that County Executive Kevin Kamenetz has proposed, but discovered that they couldn’t put the agency under county law.

Marks described the authority as having “very little transparency.”

“It seems to be an agency that operates outside the normal rules,” the Perry Hall Republican said.

But any changes would have to be made by state lawmakers, Marks said, so the council might endorse state legislation that would toughen the rules. That could include proposals by Republican Delegate John Cluster, who also says the agency lacks transparency.

“Not a whole lot of people know a whole lot about the Revenue Authority,” Cluster said.

He plans to introduce several pieces of legislation when the session starts in January, he said. One measure, for instance, would make the authority follow the county’s normal bidding process – something it doesn’t have to do now.

Les Pittler, who is the longest-serving member on the revenue authority’s board, said he supports stronger ethics laws for the authority.

“If there’s a bill that applies to employees of the county government, I think that it should apply to the Baltimore County Revenue Authority as well,” he said.

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