Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Commissioner Castor Reports...The (Ethics) Corruption Policy

(The letter speaks for itself, no commentary required!-B.)

Good morning.

The reviews are in! Four newspapers (so far) have published editorials on the Hoeffel/Matthews corruption plan adopted two weeks ago disguised as an “ethics policy.”

The result? The reviews are uniformly negative and echo all of the objections I raised in our meetings on this subject. But Hoeffel and Matthews just ignore the will of the people and reasoned voices and adopt legislation designed only to feather their political nests.

The editorials sometimes bemoan the “bickering” at our CountyCommissioner meetings. Hoeffel and Matthews have attempted to use this to their advantage by claiming we’re “demeaning the office” of Commissioner by disagreeing in public. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Jim and I were elected on a platform of issues and ideas, not the least of which was to keep taxes low and make sure the government runs efficiently. In just sixteen months Hoeffel and Matthews have set our government on a perilous course of massive debt, massive spending and inevitable tax increases.

Positions Jim and I said we didn’t believe in have been created and big money has been paid to the people who filled those jobs. Cronyism, which Hoeffel attacked relentlessly and Jim denied we engaged in, is the norm. Jim’s secretary and her husband were given big jobs they were not qualified for. Jim’s best friend is the $135,000 solicitor who still finds time to take private cases on the side. Hoeffel’s top campaign aides have been given a $90,000 job in the solicitors office and a made up Deputy Chief Operating Officer position making $90,000 to work part-time 2 and a half days a week. These are just the high profile jobs. All kind of lower level jobs are being handed out to buddies and cronies of Hoeffel and Matthews.

That is what this deal was about. There is no good government here, folks. Joe Hoeffel is engaging in the kind of behavior he accused Republicans of engaging in for decades. Why is Hoeffel doing that? Because, with Jim Matthews' vote, he can.

I didn’t run for Commissioner to hand out jobs or make sure my friends’ businesses benefited from county contracts and lucrative consulting deals. I ran for Commissioner because I thought I could make a difference for the people of Montgomery County and I believed Jim Matthews when he told me he wanted the same things for the county as I did.

Jim lied. So did Joe Hoeffel. They lied to the voters and the press and to me. In fact, when Jim embraced the very $105 million economic development plan Hoeffel proposed that Jim ridiculed during the campaign as unnecessary and ill advised, he told the press his opposition during the campaign was “just campaign rhetoric.” In other words, “I lie during campaigns to get elected.”

Maybe that’s how Jim Matthews operates, but it’s not how I operate.

So now, instead of spending my time making policy I have to act as a one man ethics and good government policeman. With these two in charge, it’s a full time job. They are used to minority Commissioners like Ruth Damsker who just sat quietly in their seat, never raised any objections, and let the two majority Commissioners run the show.

They want to use their ability to hand out jobs and contracts, their ability to intimidate county employees and political supporters and their ability to pass just about any rule or regulation they want at the County to silence me and my supporters.

I will continue to blow the whistle on them every time they’re doing something that is not in this county’s best interests. They will not silence or intimidate me.

I ran for Commissioner to clean up the court house and maybe that’s exactly why these two made their deal in the first place. They both knew I’d never go along with these kinds of shenanigans and needed to figure out how to keep the old ways of doing things in place.

This corruption policy disguised as an ethics policy is only the latest step in the effort to silence me and my supporters. The first rule of a dictatorship is to silence dissent.

Based on these editorials, I’d say they failed. But absolute power corrupts absolutely, so you can be sure these two will continue their corrupt ways designed to benefit themselves politically, and their friends financially, while at the same time keep attacking those who oppose them. Their motives are different. Hoeffel acts to keep potential candidates from running against him and his pals. Jim wants to retaliate against our party for refusing to support his embracing of the Democrats. But this marriage of convenience works because these two have twin common goals: advance their individual political agendas and line their friends' pockets. Good government is the last thing on their minds, and it is my job to let people know that.


Bruce L. Castor, Jr.
MontgomeryCounty Commissioner

1 comment:

Lisa said...

Tony Phyrillas posted a letter in yesterday's Merc calling Matthews Hoeffel's doormat.

But why am I telling you? I think you provided the graphic for the post.

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