Friday, June 09, 2006

Subin admits rigging due process & public hearing requirements

County Council Education Committee Chairman Michael Subin, one of the staunchest promoters of the discredited Kendale project, has stated on the record that he rigged his committee hearing to shut out public opposition.

According to his law firm directory, Subin has chaired the education committee for nearly two decades.

This improper and possibly illegal maneuver came to light in a reading of the transcript of the May 11, 2006 County Council hearing on the Seven Locks/Kendale question - the same hearing in which Kendalista school board member Steve Abrams was nearly thrown out for disorderly conduct.

Subin's revelation appears to show an intentional circumvention of due process and public hearing requirements that took place in the school board and County Council Education Committee, combining their insistence on the unwanted Kendale school with plans for Bells Mill that had not been the subject of public notice and comment.

The following is from the transcript of the May 11, 2006 County Council meeting:

"Council Member Leventhal: Two questions. First of all, we had a Task Force of School System staff and County Council staff that met for several weeks and developed eight options. The School Board made two of those options available for public hearing. The County Council held a hearing on all eight of those options. I don't actually recall the construction of the Kendale School, the acceleration of Bells Mill and the 'little darling' at Potomac among those options. Was there a hearing on the, on the recommendation of the Education Committee that the public had a chance to weigh in on this scenario before it was recommended to us by the Education Committee?

"Council Member Subin: No, no. and no. We did have representatives from the various PTAs addressing these issues yesterday afternoon.

"Council Member Leventhal: Okay. So after about 60 to 80 days of work by the Task Force, the Task Force never actually looked at the option recommended yesterday by the Education Committee, and after three nights of public hearings in the County Council and I think one night of public hearings before the School Board, the public actually hasn’t had an opportunity to weigh in on the recommendations of the Education Committee. Am I missing anything?

"Council Member Subin: No, you’re. Well, there are some points, yes. There are pieces of the Board action that had they taken on . . . Tuesday would have, would have set off a number of process issues in which we could not have discussed them today. Had the Board recommended the acceleration of Bells Mill, then in fact they would have had to advertise the amendment. It would've been a couple of weeks. Hold a hearing. Send it over to the Executive. Send it over to us. We would have had to then advertise and we would have then had to hold a hearing, which effectively from a time perspective probably would have canceled out any, any time advantages to do that."