[Note: A Seven Locks parent thanks the county's construction project chief, Jim Tokar, for his notice that 99 percent of the documents are in, but makes another request for answers about corruption.]
Will the remaining 1 percent of the documents contain the long-awaited answers to repeated questions to you about how the Division of Construction is ensuring against waste, fraud, abuse and other forms of corruption? Some of us have asked you repeatedly and have yet to receive your written answers.
Here’s the text of the original questions
- Michael Waller
Text of February 8 e-mail:
Dear Mr. Tokar,
As father of three children at Seven Locks Elementary School, I appreciate your responsiveness by e-mailing written answers to the written questions of my neighbors. I have some other questions that I would like you to answer by e-mail for the record:
1. In your professional opinion as a project manager, what percentage of costs in the construction of a Montgomery County Public School is typically lost to kickbacks, graft, waste, and other forms of corruption?
2. What procedures and practices do you and the MCPS Division of Construction have in place to ensure that school construction projects are free of kickbacks, graft, waste, and other forms of corruption?
3. What specific instances can you cite over the past 15 years where you and the MCPS Division of Construction have suspected – and acted upon – kickbacks, graft, waste, and other forms of corruption in the construction of county schools?
4. How many of those cases did you and the MCPS Division of Construction refer to county, state, or federal officials for criminal action? Which cases were they? Which officials did you urge take criminal action, and under what circumstances?
5. How many of the cases that you and the MCPS Division of Construction urged be prosecuted resulted in criminal convictions? Which cases were they?
6. If neither you nor the MCPS Division of Construction have suspected and acted upon cases of suspected or alleged corruption in the construction of county public schools, would you please explain why you and the Division believe that no corruption exists in the construction industry and in public politics, or why you and the Division have not been diligent in safeguarding public school construction from corruption and organized crime?
7. Do you and the MCPS Division of Construction believe that an outside prosecutor should be appointed to investigate suspected corruption in the construction of county public schools? If not, please explain.
These are serious and sincere questions that I am asking of you as a public official and construction professional. They are not questions that should be answered by a bureaucrat or a lawyer; indeed, legalistic answers and surrogate letters from lawyers only tend to fuel people’s worst fears and suspicions. Full and open answers clear the air.
Please note that (A) the first question asks for your professional opinion, (B) the second through sixth questions ask for specific facts from both you as a project manager and from the MCPS Division of Construction, and (C) the seventh question asks for your professional opinion and the official opinion of the MCPS Division of Construction.
If you cannot speak for the MCPS Division of Construction, would you please ensure that the Division answers the second through sixth questions in full and in writing.
I am certain that you understand why anything but specific and complete answers to each of these questions is necessary to ensure public confidence in the integrity of the highly controversial MCPS construction program.
Thank you again for soliciting our written questions and for being so timely in answering them in writing.