More than ever, it appears we need an “independent” Office of Inspector General, a position called for and supported by only one county commissioner, Jess Santamaria, and against others on the Palm Beach County Commission who supported the 14 city allegations of “budget” considerations and preferred to push the office under the county clerk, where it would be less independent under the control of the clerk — not a bad maneuver, but transparent and clumsy. I would point to two recent acts of impropriety among who knows what’s out there…
The first was the case of the City Manager Louie Chapman, who, according to the Office of Inspector General, along with another employee, misled the Delray Beach City Commission about a $60,000 trash bin purchase without the commission’s permission, and though the allegations were denied by Mr. Chapman, his defense failed when he was shown an e-mail in which he personally authorized part of the purchase. Mr. Chapman offered to resign in exchange for two years’ severance pay. The other employee was a 28-year veteran who tendered her resignation but was asked to stay to the end of the year.
The second case was equally compelling but unrelated to the first case. It involved a developer who was selected by the county commission who, according to the Palm Beach Post, was improperly enriching himself to the tune of $100,000 in an under the table scheme.
One could reasonably speculate that for the 14 cities who would not support an independent inspector general, it may have had nothing to do with any budget considerations but everything to do with an “independent” inspector general — and you would probably be right.
It would appear that Palm Beach County still has people who want keep the status quo as “Corruption County.”
Richard Nielsen, Royal Palm Beach