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As Long as We Remember...

July 8, 2004

Bad Judgment or Simply Oversight?

David 'Kip' Koontz

Frederick County recently played host to the World University Weightlifting Championships. This is a great thing for Frederick County and the athletes involved.

It is exciting that many of the participants used the event as their preliminary trial for this summer's Olympics.

This was good exposure for Frederick County, Mount Saint Mary's, the venue at which the even took place and the chief sponsors.

Unfortunately, coordinator of the event, County Commissioner Mike Cady, may, in his zeal and earnestness to bring the event to Frederick, have overstepped his bounds.

On the website of the event it listed who to contact for information and it was of course, the Director, Michael L. Cady.

To contact him, however, one was to email him care of which is Commissioner Cady's official county email address.

If you chose to call him instead, you were to call him at his office number at Winchester Hall.

Most companies and government agencies have relatively strict policies concerning the use of their emails for personal business.

Word has it that one poor soul who works at Winchester Hall used her county computer, which is monitored for improper use, to check an order on a sales website.

It was discovered and she was subsequently reprimanded for misuse of the county system.

Interesting that this can happen, yet Commissioner Cady can list his county email address and his county phone number on everything related to the weightlifting competition and it does not violate the county's policy on use of the email and computer system?

Mind you this event was not sponsored by Frederick County; it was a privately sponsored and funded event.

To compound matters Belinda Teague-Levy, the commissioner's executive assistant, was also enlisted to assist, even holding the title of "Volunteer Coordinator."

Again, Ms. Teague-Levy's county email and phone number were listed for her contact information.

Is it proper that a county employee's time be spent coordinating volunteers for a non-county event?

How many of our tax dollars went to subsidize her work on an event which were not part of her county duties?

Who did her county work while she was busy coordinating volunteers?

Additionally there is the matter of sponsorships for the event.

The list was laden with many contractors, builders and building trades supporting growth in Frederick County.

While there is no evidence that Mr. Cady has done anything untoward, some question this only because Mr. Cady, who sits on the Planning Commission, has already faced the Ethics Commission once because he accepted donations for his weightlifting school from these types of businesses and was told his business could not accept them while he was a sitting commissioner.

Yet he can accept them for this event?

It just makes one wonder whether Mr. Cady thinks before he acts?

Wouldn't one think that one would go to extreme lengths to make it look like one is not using one's "prestige of office" for - potentially - personal gain?

Mr. Cady just seems to keep stepping in front of the proverbial ethics bus, in that he also got called for driving a county vehicle to a private political event.

Is it that he just doesn't see the potential conflict, or does he simply think he is above it all in some way?

It is just too bad that this excellent event for the weightlifting community, for our community has the cloud of Mr. Cady's apparent bad judgment hanging over it.

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