Friday, January 20, 2006

County Executive candidate Silverman wants to pay citizen investigators

The county council member most responsible for the development planning scandals now says the county should reimburse the citizens' group that unearthed the corrupt relations between Clarksburg Town Center developers and county officials.

Steven A. Silverman, chairman of the council committee that oversees planning, said that Montgomery County should pay the Clarksburg Town Center Advisory Committee, a citizens' group, for its detective and legal work.

Silverman is under fire for allegedly enabling corrupt development deals with taxpayer dollars. He has also been criticized for attempting to raze the Seven Locks Elementary School in Bethesda and turn the schoolyard into a high-density subsidized housing project.

He is also facing criticism for putting forth cosmetic reforms to cover up the scandals before the November elections. Silverman is running to succeed Doug Duncan as County Executive.

"It seems to me that the government should step up and be accountable," Silverman told the Business Gazette.

He added that any time a citizens' group uncovers "government malfeasance," it should be "knocking on our door" for legal fees.

Candidate Silverman, a Democrat, finds himself siding with Republican Councilman Howard Denis, who has long sought to reimburse citizens for legal costs incurred in fighting county negligence.

Seven Locks School advocates hope to use a Clarksburg reimbursement as a precedent to enable a full investigation of the decisionmaking behind the Seven Locks/Kendale school scandal.