Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Weast Blasts Elrich

In a wide-ranging interview with the Montgomery County Sentinel, MCPS Superintendent Jerry Weast singled out County Council Member Marc Elrich, a former fifth grade public school teacher, for special scorn. And the Weast War continues!

In a November 9 statement on this blog, Elrich noted that the state's Maintenance of Effort law made no exceptions for savings from labor concessions or administrative efficiencies. Weast took exception to that in the Sentinel's interview. Here is the entire text of the relevant question and answer.

The Sentinel:
Some of the county council members disagreed with your actions to ask the state attorney general if the alternative solution to the MOE waiver denial was the right thing to do. What is your response to that?

The problem with that is that they don't have to sign an official document to the state certifying that it is legal.

I think if they did, they would have taken a different approach to it.

I guess it depends on whom is signing the check. I have to legally sign that what they did was accurate and since there was a question, I had to check the legality of it.

As soon as I checked the legality of it - because had I signed it without checking it out, I would have been signing an illegal document.

What I am baffled by is that what one of the Council members, Marc Elrich, posted on the [Maryland Politics Watch] blog that I should have just ignored it and pretended the law didn't exist.

I've never heard of an elected official wanting to ignore the law. I mean, if you want to write some controversy in your paper then there's your controversy right there.

My goodness. Just quote that blog posting. It's one elected official telling another to ignore the law on a form that carries a $46 million penalty. Hello? Houston we have a problem. I've never like confined spaces with bars in front of them.
Weast is understandably frustrated because the school system is facing tens of millions of dollars in penalties due to an accounting maneuver that he did not commit. But in re-reading Elrich's statement, we cannot find evidence that Elrich advised Weast to break the law. Furthermore, when Weast refers to "one elected official telling another to break the law," we should note that Jerry Weast is a contract employee hired by the Board of Education and not an elected office holder.