BPW Heaps Praise on Departing Secretary
By Len Lazarick, Len@MarylandReporter.com
ANNAPOLIS—Many audits of state agencies find wasted dollars, poor accounting controls, lax purchasing measures and even occasional fraud; so its worth pointing out that legislative auditors reviewing $2.6 billion of spending that went through the transportation secretarys office found absolutely nothing.
Our audit did not disclose any significant deficiencies in the design or operation of the departments internal control, said the auditors report. Nor did our audit disclose any significant instances of noncompliance with applicable laws, rules or regulations. The financial management information system supports the departments purchasing, accounting and payment functions.
The good news comes as Transportation Secretary Beverley Swaim-Staley announced shes leaving the post July 1, after almost three years in the job. Transportation is one of largest departments in state government with 9,000 employees in five modal agencies with an annual budget of $3.8 million.
Swaim-Staley has had her share of critical audits of agencies including the Mass Transit Administration and the State Highway Administration, but shes had her share of successes, including the opening of the Intercounty Connector last year.
Comptroller Peter Franchot praised her effusively for several minutes at Wednesdays Board of Public Works meeting. For my money, theres never been anyone better than Bev Staley, said Franchot, who as a delegate chaired the transportation appropriations subcommittee. She was always looking for ways to save taxpayer dollars and had unassailable integrity.
Treasurer Nancy Kopp chimed in to endorse everything the comptroller said, and Gov. Martin OMalley joined the chorus of praise.
OMalley singled out one very momentous, final accomplishment for Swaim-Staley getting the treasurer and governor to applaud unanimously every word of something the comptroller has said.
The room burst into laughter and Franchot grinned. The comptroller is often the lone voice of dissent on OMalley administration contracts, as he would be later that morning at the same meeting.
That [unanimity] has never happened before and I will be preparing a proclamation to honor the occasion, OMalley joked. Franchot actually sides with OMalley 95% of the time.
Swaim-Staley accepted the praise on a realistic note, pointing out she still had several board meetings to go. Im sure well have problems to resolve in the next couple of months, she said.
Ive worked for the state since I was 20 years old and I wouldnt change a thing, Swaim-Staley said. Some of you raised me, lets be honest.