Photo: Baltimore County Councilman David Marks and State Delegate Michele Guyton
Two more lawmakers have joined a building chorus of officials who have asked the Baltimore County school board to maintain a ban on document destruction while the system undergoes a legislative performance audit.
Tonight, board members will vote to lift or modify a directive that was put in place last year after reports surfaced that nearly 2,600 financial disclosure statements were destroyed during a separate high profile procurement audit.
With the latest audit underway, lawmakers have expressed concern over the prospect that documents needed for the completion of the audit will be unavailable for auditors, as was the case earlier this year, when auditors noted that financial disclosure statements, needed for years 2012 and 2013, were unavailable since they had been destroyed.
Democrat Del. Michele Guyton said in a letter to board members, “It is my task, as a representative of the citizens of District 42B to advocate for transparency in this matter. I feel strongly that destruction of any financial documents at this time would not serve the public interest… In addition, as a Member of House Ways and Means Education Sub-Committee, accountability and transparency are of utmost importance to me. With the complex negotiations to implement the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future as a priority this Legislative Session, any measure that seems to decrease accountability by any school system may impede our progress towards the passage of meaningful education reform.”
Baltimore County Councilman David Marks, a Republican who represents the Towson area in the county’s fifth council district, also implored members to uphold the record destruction ban. “I oppose this measure,” he said in a letter to school board members. “The Board of Education has made great progress in restoring public confidence to our school system. I believe the adoption of this measure would compromise the ongoing state audit and weaken the public trust.”
Guyton and Marks join Del. Robin Grammer, and Councilmen Wade Kach and Todd Crandall in their support of upholding the ban.
Grammer, who wrote a letter to school board members last week, also created a social media poll, asking constituents about how they felt about the ban removal. As of late Tuesday afternoon, over 500 people voted, showing that 96% believe the ban should remain.