Capital Article

Cook, Chase, Del. McMillan admonishes Anne Arundel school official for attending partisan event, January 26, 2018.

Snider Comment

“McMillan criticized Mosier’s use of his title at an event with political ties….”

I’d suggest the larger public policy issue here is the use of government resources for any type of political advocacy, especially when it is done in secret. This has been a chronic problem with high level AACPS staffers (e.g., see the anecdote below), partly because AACPS is not subject to the Hatch Act and there is no system in place to penalize such behavior. Indeed, such behavior has been routinely rewarded when done discreetly.

Note two things about how McMillan et al. have framed this debate. There has been no question here whether Mosier’s behavior violated the law (the law turns a blind eye to such behavior); nor any question of referring the case to the AACPS Ethics Panel, which in theory should address such behavior but in practice—since the foxes control this chicken coop—has always turned a blind eye to it.

“State Sen. Bryan Simonaire and Del. Meagan Simonaire, both Republicans from Pasadena, gave presentations on their cross-filed bills that raise the minimum salary of county Board of Elections members.”

I think it’s great that the Simonaires want to raise the salary of the SMOB to that of the adult Board of Education members. But with equal power should come equal ethical safeguards. Notably, there should be additional precautions to ensure that AACPS senior staff cannot effectively bribe the SMOB to vote their way by exploiting widespread student hopes of receiving a large scholarship—more even than the proposed SMOB salary—by voting their way. Indeed, apropos of the Mosier incident, the whole process of electing the SMOB has been a vivid and far more egregious case of inappropriate AACPS staff political influence. That is, influencing an election directly and under the cover of secrecy is a far more serious misuse of government resources than providing content-neutral, publicly disclosed advice to advocates. For an example, see