Recent news regarding the lack of funding for the Palm Beach County Office of the Inspector General (OIG) is proof that “Corruption County” never ended. Congratulations is due to all of the cities refusing to pay, the county commissioners, the county administrators, and the city and county attorneys who fought the fake fight at our expense. They scored a brilliant grand scam (pun intended). The OIG is effectively dead, fait accompli. By design, the OIG can never be independent because the office exists based on the willingness of the cities and county to pay its bills.
If Inspector General John Carey and his predecessor, Sheryl Steckler, were truly independent, they would have investigated why the county left the original funding plan, a quarter percent fee paid by all contractors based on the value of each contract. This OIG contract fee was to mirror the Miami-Dade funding plan and would have provided a never-ending, guaranteed funding source, and it would not have been paid by the taxpayers. If Miami-Dade can do this, why can’t Palm Beach County?
Yet, Mr. Carey who inherited his short staffing and lack of funding from Ms. Steckler, takes it all in stride, while trying not to bite the hands that feed him. This gives us little confidence that he will ever investigate the hard-hitting corruption of those who fund his budget and sign his checks. Does Mr. Carey have what it takes to force a funding change that will make his office truly independent, or will he wait until the OIG is once and for all dissolved and shuttered, and quietly shuffle off to another high-level county job? Only time will tell, and we will be watching.
Anne Kuhl, The Acreage