County Administrator drops the Ball

Leonardtown, MD - It has been two months since the St. Mary's County Board of County Commissioners, by unanimous vote, directed County Administrator Dr. Rebecca Bridgette to secure an independent review to investigate the circumstances which led to the death off an infant last Oct. 24. They authorized expenditure of up to $25,000.

This action, taken only after an uproar in the volunteer Fire, and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) community regarding the efficiency of the Harris emergency radio system and internal county protocols and dispatch system within the county.

The edict was clear, the county would fix the internal HR issues which was accomplished by separating the IT department and the Emergency Management Services department, which they did.

 Bridgette apparently didnt get the message. No outside independent group has been brought in to review objectively the holistic picture of the radio system failure, which was alleged to not have operate correctly the morning of Oct. 24, causing late emergency response.

On Tuesday, Jan. 9 Commissioner John O'Connor [R-District 3] (pictured, above) said that he believed the Harris Corp representatives who appeared before the commissioners "lied and manipulated the truth" when presenting their case to the commissioners that the radios were not at fault. "It is unconscionable," said O'Connor, "that the third party review which this board directed staff to organize has to this day not occurred." Ultimately the Board is accountable that their senior support staff follow directives.  O'Connor, wants to bring Harris corporation back for additional questioning, and also have a legal review of their contract with the county should the situation end up in as multi-million dollar lawsuit against Harris Corporation.

When asked why the review had not been delivered, O'Connor said, "I guess that everyone thinks that this has all blown over and let sleeping dogs lie." He added, "I do not intend to let this pass by default. The ball clearly is and has been in the hands of Bridgett."

Contact Martin Fairclough at 

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