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Posted at 5:03 PM ET, 03/ 8/2010

Report finds lax oversight for MoCo tuition program

By Washington Post editors

The Montgomery County government awarded more than $600,000 in no-bid payments to nine companies that had ties to county police officers and were part of a controversial tuition assistance program, Montgomery’s inspector general said in a report released Monday.

The government provided little oversight over the training, and in many cases appeared to simply respond to invoices by cutting checks as large as $59,800, according the report. The lack of controls enabled 216 county employees -- police officers, sheriff’s deputies and corrections officers -- to take county-funded classes and, at the end of the classes, purchase deeply discounted guns that one official has called the “candy” to entice them to enroll in the classes in the first place.

The close ties among the companies and the employees, the Inspector General concluded, “has and will continue to expose county taxpayer dollars to waste and abuse until comprehensive guidelines and monitoring are put in place.”

Problems in the tuition assistance program initially were uncovered by Montgomery County Sheriff Raymond M. Kight in July. Two deputies reported that they’d been to a two-day firearms training class and that its chief virtue was the great deal they could get on a handgun -- $99 for a Glock valued at several times that, Kight said.

-- Dan Morse and Michael Laris

By Washington Post editors  | March 8, 2010; 5:03 PM ET
Categories:  Maryland  
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