A state delegate is calling for the ouster of arguably the most powerful non-elected official in Baltimore County government.
Del. John Cluster, a Parkville Republican, said Thursday that County Administrative Officer Fred Homan is costing county taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in pursuing "frivolous lawsuits" involving the Fraternal Order of Police.
"It's not a good expenditure of taxpayer money," said Cluster. "How many other of these cases is personal?"
Cluster, a retired police officer and former member of the department's tactical team, said he raised concerns about the number of lawsuits the county has lost in recent months during a meeting Wednesday with County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.
"The Blake case is a perfect example of how these lawsuits are costing the county more money," said Cluster. "How much money is this going to continue to cost the county?"
Cluster said the conversation with the county executive was amicable but that Kamenetz laid off concerns as a personal issue between Homan and the Fraternal Order of Police.
"If Fred Homan can't separate personal and business, then it's time for him to go," Cluster, said.
Sen. Kathy Klausmeier, who represents the same district as Cluster, was also in attendance. The Perry Hall Democrat said Kamenetz and Cluster discussed the lawsuits and Fred Homan but did not provide details of the conversation.
Del. Joseph Boteler, a Parkville Republican from the same district was also in attendance, did not return calls from a reporter seeking comment.
"These meetings are meant to be confidential so that everyone is free to speak openly," said Mohler.
Homan, a 34-year veteran of the county, was hired in 1978 as a management assistant. In 1989, he was named budget director by then-County Executive Dennis Rasmussen.
Homan later became director of the Office of Budget and Finance when the two departments were merged under then-County Executive Dutch Ruppersberger. During his time in that position, Homan's name became synonymous with the department he oversaw and Old Courthouse insiders frequently referred to the department as "the Office of Fred."
In 2007, Homan was appointed county administrative officer by then-County Executive Jim Smith—a position that by County Charter is responsible for the day-to-day operations of county government. Some insiders refer to county government operations as "Fred's World."
The county has lost a number of lawsuits in the last two years.
Most recently, the county entered into a consent decree with 10 police and fire department employees who had similar complaints about being subjected to unlawful medical examinations and tests. The court-ordered resolution of those cases cost the county about $500,000.
The settlement with the Department of Justice included additional oversight by the federal agency.
Three other employees who were not involved in the settlement have since filed suit for similar reasons.