Wednesday, April 26, 2006

School board melting down over the scandal it created

The Montgomery County Board of Education is ripping itself apart over the Seven Locks/Kendale scandal.

A board member who has been leading the fight against the Inspector General's investigation of alleged wrongdoing got into a shouting match with a colleague who has called the Kendale project a scam.

Steve "Abramoff" Abrams, a Republican who is running for state Comptroller, ripped into Valerie Ervin, a Democrat who is one of the only board members calling for the school system to be held accountable to the public.

At the board's April 20 meeting, Ervin alleged that officials further rigged the Kendale process after the county council heard unanimous public opposition to the school board's plan.

"Was this a monkey court that we had the County Council put together with [board President] Charles [Haughey] and you, Dr. Weast?” Ervin asked Superintendent Jerry D. Weast.

According to the Gazette, Abrams cut her off: "No, it was a kangaroo court at the County Council, Mrs. ... Valerie."

"You have had your time ad nauseam [to] address this board," Ervin shot back.

The usually sleepy Haughey cut in: "Mr. Abrams, you are out of order."

Abrams went on with his rant about Inspector General Thomas Dagley's investigation, which found official wrongdoing: "It was a kangaroo court, with the inspector general."

"When the IG’s report came out, had you not done what you did, Mr. Abrams, we might not be sitting," said Ervin, in apparent reference to Abrams' letter that the IG had no business investigating citizen complaints about alleged MCPS wrongdoing and corruption.

Abrams went below the belt, haranguing Ervin: "Are you speaking as a staffer, or are you speaking as a board member?"

Ervin replied, "And I knew you were going to go there because that’s the way you are."