A release of records related to the number of free golf rounds given to Baltimore County Revenue Authority board members and employees shows that one member—Merreen Kelly—has played 781 rounds of golf in the last two years. Kelly's rounds account for more than 70 percent of all the free golf played by the five-member board in 2010 and 2011.
But documents released by the authority under a Maryland Public Information Act request show that free golf rounds for board members made up just 8 percent of the more than 13,700 courtesy rounds played in 2010 and 2011.
In June, William "Lynnie" Cook, chief executive of the authority, asked the board to approve a change in the policy governing free or so-called courtesy rounds of golf for board members.
Prior to the change, board members were allowed to play unlimited rounds without charge on the county's five public golf courses. Cook billed the policy change as a revenue enhancement measure and asked the members to agree to limit the free rounds to just eight per week. Those free golf rounds extend to guests of the board members.
Cook did not, at the time, provide details of the number of rounds played by each board member, but the request called attention to the issue.
A number of board members voluntarily disclosed or attempted to estimate the number of rounds they had played. Cook initially denied a request made by Patch for documents pertaining to the number of rounds. The authority recently agreed to release the documents after Patch filed a second request.Free golf rounds for authority board members. Source: Baltimore County Revenue Authority Name 2010 2011 Total Joseph Blair 3 8 11 Donald Hutchinson 43 47 90 Merreen Kelly 539 242 781 Leslie Pittler 131 69 200 Hanan Sibel 11 4 15 Total 727 370 1097
Cook, in his email accompanying the document release, said free rounds of golf to employees and board members totaled 66 percent of the free rounds in the last two years.
He also made note of the number of rounds played by Kelly.
"What the system does not show is that approximately 40 percent of his complimentary rounds were rounds played as a member of a golf league that he brought over from the Worthington Valley Golf Course," Cook wrote. "The league averages 28 paying players every week for 28 weeks a year (or approximately 1,500 rounds over the same two-year period). As an established league, Mr. Kelly’s group is also required to pay an additional $5 fee per tee time. Given that his group is comprised solely of senior players, the Authority will gross over $50,000 from the league."