Thursday, December 05, 2013 5:48 AM
Published on: Thursday, September 26, 2013
By Brian J. Karem
The time has come to speak plainly about the City of Rockville.
Let’s be blunt: The inmates are not only running the asylum but they’ve convinced the elected officials they should be running the asylum.
The city staff is out of control. As a group it is not responsible to anyone for its apparent gross incompetence nor does it show any care for the elected officials or the people who reside in this wonderful little town.
Employees and former employees seem to be lining up to sue the city over its lack of professional demeanor and those representing the city to the public are among the rudest and least professional I’ve ever run across.
This says something because I’ve worked in several states and once in Texas had to spend the night at an office holder’s house with my wife because a local politician threatened my life following a series of reports on him.
While he was threatening, I must note he was never rude and strictly speaking he was never unprofessional. The same cannot be said about the staff at the City of Rockville.
At this point it is probably useless to go into a long laundry list of the problems in the city. Those who live and work there know them well enough.
Those who do not live there can merely check the court record. Don’t take my word for it.
But it also must be noted there seems to be no real hope in sight to clear up the growing problems.
To begin those who manage the city don’t really believe there is a problem. They are quite content on selling others the popular fiction that it is the media that blows things out of proportion, or even if the city settles suits filed against it – which the city has done – then it is an “isolated incident.”
Currently the city is wrestling with a suit filed by a former inspector who says since he left there is no qualified plumbing inspector in the city. Another former employee says millions of dollars are at stake and the situation could potentially cause a loss of life.
While the city has tried to reassure us otherwise, the city staff members leave more questions unanswered than answered and try as city representatives might, they do nothing to defuse the situation.
Everything done in the city by current managers is suspect.
After settling suits, after spending close to $200,000 on an investigation the city then sealed for reasons still unclear to anyone with common sense, the city has little to no credibility.
One would hope the current elections will clean this mess up.
Yet, on the ballot for mayor are two candidates who currently hold office as city council members and one can argue neither has done much in their current position to clean things up.
The argument presented to the public is one of non-interference by the current council and mayor. The pervasive attitude among those holding office is that the elected officials cannot get involved with the internal workings of the city staff.
This would be funny if it weren’t so sad.
There is simply no way to oversee the problems of city management staff other than hiring or firing the city manager. The current manager is a little more than a year into her Rockville parade ride, and while firing her may seem to be within reason, it will actually do little to solve deeply rooted problems.
Rockville elected officials who are predominantly responsible to those who elect them have to step up and take control – through an oversight committee or through direct involvement – despite their protestations to the contrary.
Former Rockville Mayor Larry Giammo had a fine handle on city staff and there was a time when people not only enjoyed, but wanted to work for the city of Rockville.
One must either be blind, deaf or extremely ignorant of the current working conditions inside the city to believe that to be the case today.
If city managers and city staff can be as rude as they want to be without fear of impunity to the members of the media – who really have no dog in the hunt – then how are they treating people who live and work in Rockville? The answer is horribly.
It isn’t getting any better. Someone with some intestinal fortitude needs to step forward and fire several staff members and hold the rest accountable – if not then the current actions of the council portend future widespread disaster – up to and including the loss of lives – if one can believe those who’ve left the city’s employment.
Posted By: Resident On: 10/1/2013
Title: NO Hope
Their is NO hope that the current upcoming elections will clean up the mess in the asylum. The elected officials claim they have no rights to get involved with the management of our city, so why spend taxpayers' dollars to pay their salaries? Do we really need a mayor and council if they have no power?
Posted By: Thomas Spartan On: 9/26/2013
Title: The saga continues in the Rockville toilet bowl. :(
Once again the city continues to be in the news.
I suggest it is time to FLUSH the entire bowl of waste. Oh wait... we do not comply with the state regulations relating to inspection staff!!!
What these people in local government need to understand is that they work for us! It is completely unacceptable behavior to treat the news media as described in this editorial. I cannot remember reading this many negative articles about horrific treatment of staff and the news media.
Sure sounds like the Mayor and Council being adults (???) need to take control of the kindergarten and force the children to behave.
I commend the Sentinel and current and former city staff for exposing the problems in city hall.