Letter: Independent IG Worth The Cost

Editor’s note: The following letter is in response to the letter “Two Inspectors General Is One Too Many” by Frank Morelli, published last week.

A letter written in support of the “boy who would be king” and who crowned himself “mayor” of the county commission in Palm Beach County really is more an application for a position through political endorsement, but does little to further the discussion regarding an independent Office of the Inspector General.

It probably would have been more reasonable a few years back, when such an initiative would have reflected a modicum of interest in the ongoing level of corruption in a county that was earning such a reputation, but things being what they are on the commission over the past decade, we see how we have progressed to the point that the electorate, frustrated by the inaction of the Palm Beach County Commission, sought remedy in referendum. The referendum passed with 72 percent of the electorate, but efforts to thwart the process and the will of the voters began almost immediately when special interests discovered they may not be able to control this office’s scope of investigative power if the office was independent and not under the control of the county commission. Up to this point, the special interests were content to put up with what the voters had decided was a necessary level of oversight, as long as this new office was little more than a rubber stamp, a lion without teeth, it would then be an office without “real” oversight authority.

I find it “enterprising” to list salaries of the employees needed to protect us from the current level of corruption but no figures on what it has cost the voters and will cost the voters if the current and past corruptive practices continue.

Methinks thou protests too much to really make a convincing or relevant argument against an actual independent Office of the Inspector General. The voters would be well advised to ignore the siren calls from special interests and those seeking a way to dilute and control the inspector general. Furthermore, elected officials and their minions should not ever be in a position to overturn or prevent the implementation, which at 72 percent represents a mandate by the voters.

It is this writer’s opinion, the money spent on an independent inspector general, will prove to be minuscule, when compared to the costs of continuing the wasteful and corruptive practices in place.

As of this date, plagued for years with the ongoing reputation of Corruption County has had only one county commissioner who has sought, by supporting an independent Office of the Inspector General, to change our reputation, and that, friends, is Jess Santamaria. If I ever had any doubts about whether the Palm Beach County Commission operated on behalf of the voters in Palm Beach County or whether it operated in lockstep with the special interests, it was clearly defined by the county commissioners themselves when they “bypassed” Mr. Santamaria’s normal succession to be chairman of the commission and we got instead the “boy king” who thought it more important, to appear more important, than to take on the special interests and to represent the voters in Palm Beach County .

Richard Nielsen
Royal Palm Beach