Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Andrews Warns Leggett Again About Helicopters

As we previously reported (and the Examiner confirmed), the Leggett administration is proceeding with plans to acquire two helicopters for the Montgomery County Police Department despite objections from the County Council and the statehouse delegation. That has prompted a new memo from Council President Phil Andrews reiterating the council's opposition.

In the memo, Andrews cites a Delmarva Now article describing MCPD officials loading one helicopter onto a flatbed truck for transport from Princess Anne to MoCo. The article states that the helicopter's transfer has been "in the works for the past three or four months."

Andrews writes, "While I am very disappointed that you have chosen to move forward with the helicopter proposal given our extremely tight budget, I certainly hope that you will not authorize any additional expenditures until after the County has learned whether the [federal] grant has been awarded and the Council decides that matter. The County cannot afford to waste money on a new program that cannot be sustained at a time when we are forced to consider reducing or eliminating existing programs and services that are more important than a police helicopter unit to the people we represent."

Your author does not know of a single Council Member who is willing to vote for the County Executive's helicopter program and that has been the case for more than a month. Also, Phil Andrews is the Chair of the County Council's Public Safety Committee so his opinion carries extra weight on this issue.

We reproduce the Council President's memo below.