Baltimore County Inspector General's FY 2023 Report Reveals 37% Rise In Complaints
BALTIMORE COUNTY - The Baltimore County Office of the Inspector General's recently released report for the fiscal year 2023 highlights a surge in complaints and the meteoric growth of the once embattled department.
Since its inception three years ago, the office, under Inspector General Kelly Madigan, has expanded in both personnel and funding. The team, initially just three members working from a confined space in the historic Towson courtroom, has since hired a new attorney, two investigators and employed several law interns.
The office's primary responsibility is to root out waste and corruption within county departments. Baltimore City and Montgomery County also operate similar offices.
According to the report, throughout the fiscal year 2023, the office registered 213 complaints, leading to the opening of 19 investigations, marking a 37% rise in complaints and 27% in investigations from previous years.
Of the 213 complaints received, ten resulted in investigations. The office made four of their investigative findings public, highlighting issues like the improper use of asphalt paving costing $69,900 and a roofing firm alleged to have exaggerated subcontracting expenses tied to minority-owned enterprises.
The most significant investigation involved the misappropriation of funds by former Baltimore County official Chris McCollum. According to the report, McCollum stole $111,014.89 from the campaign account of former Council member Cathy Bevins and $31,269.63 from a slate controlled by former Baltimore County Executive James T. Smith Jr.
Charging documents allege that McCollum used the campaign funds to travel to Puerto Rico and Palm Beach, Fla., with a "romantic partner." These expenditures were not listed on the campaign reports filed with the State Board of Elections.
McCollum is facing charges of felony theft, embezzlement, and perjury, according to the Maryland State Prosecutor's office.
The report also highlighted the office's budget, which stands at just over half a million dollars, with 97% allocated for the salaries of its six staff members. According to the report, the office's operational costs equate to around $0.60 for each County resident.
As its workload continues to rise, the office also noted its intent to hire an additional Management Analyst.