Recent paid ads and letters in the Town-Crier question the behavior and motives of the Palm Beach County Commission, county attorney and county administrator toward the inspector general (IG). We have done nothing to impede the IG in the fulfillment of her duties and responsibilities as set forth in the IG ordinance.
The county demonstrated its initial commitment by adopting the IG ordinance in 2009, even before the charter question was approved by the public with 72 percent of the vote. By approving the charter, the voters were endorsing the IG and the ordinance, which provides the rules under which the IG and the county operate.
Since then, the facts, which seem to be of no interest to some, clearly show that we have tried to assist the IG in every way possible: funding, prompt and unquestioned hiring of staff, generous secure office space, responsiveness to investigations, records availability, etc., with the commission stepping up and using your tax dollars to make up part of the shortfall resulting from the funding lawsuit filed by some of the cities. The county went as far as it legally could to establish a functionally independent office. No one has pointed to a single instance where this has created a problem for the IG in doing the job she is supposed to do.
Later this year, I will make a presentation to the Inspector General Committee, which comprises the ethics commission, the state attorney and the public defender. This is a fully independent group that only serves the public’s interest. The committee will decide if Ms. [Sheryl] Steckler should have her contract extended for another four years. I will discuss Ms. Steckler’s job performance in light of state and local laws and the standards of the Association of Inspectors General.
Why are some people trying to intimidate me into not making a presentation in accordance with the process provided for in the IG ordinance? What are they afraid of? What are their motives? Since when is discussing the job performance of a public official a problem? Those same people don’t mind discussing me in your paper. In fact, I wouldn’t be doing my job if I stood mute on this issue of public importance. I hope your readers keep an open mind and see beyond the innuendo and personal agendas. The bottom line is that our conduct shows that the commission, the county attorney and county administrator support a properly and fully functioning Office of the Inspector General.
Bob Weisman, Palm Beach County Administrator