- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 29, 2005

Montgomery County Planning Board Chairman Derick P. Berlage yesterday disputed the county inspector general’s contention that planners are not cooperating in an investigation of building code violations in Clarksburg.

“I am deeply disappointed by your inaccurate portrayal of reality and your allegations that the agency is unwilling to comply with your requests,” Mr. Berlage said in a letter to Inspector General Thomas J. Dagley.

In a memo Monday to County Attorney Charles W. Thompson Jr., Mr. Dagley said Charles R. Loehr, director of the Department of Park and Planning, has not provided “routine data and information involving county-funded expenditures and vehicles” requested on Aug. 22 and Sept. 9.

Mr. Dagley also said the Department of Park and Planning, which serves as the Planning Board’s staff, has not cooperated with his attempts to interview several employees.

The inspector general’s memo is a preliminary requirement before his office can issue a subpoena for the information.

Mr. Berlage said in his letter that Mr. Dagley has had “virtually unrestricted access” to Mr. Loehr, who is scheduled to retire Monday.

The Planning Board chairman also said the inspector general’s “unrestricted” access has extended to officials at the central office that coordinates Montgomery County’s planning with that of Prince George’s County.

The Planning Board and the Department of Park and Planning are part of a bi-county state agency — the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC).

Several of the inspector general’s interviews of planning officials Mr. Berlage cited in his letter occurred this week after Mr. Dagley submitted his memo Monday.

Mr. Dagley met Monday with M-NCPPC Executive Director Trudye Johnson, General Counsel Adrian Gardner and Secretary-Treasurer Patricia Barney, Mr. Berlage said in his letter.

In addition, Mr. Dagley interviewed Park and Planning’s budget chief Edith Michel on Aug. 16 and another senior planner, John Carter, on Thursday, Mr. Berlage said.

Mr. Dagley did not return phone calls seeking comment yesterday.

In a brief interview with The Washington Times on Wednesday, Mr. Dagley said he issued his memo in connection with his Clarksburg investigation and an inquiry into how the county’s planning agency operates. “I issued the memo as part of three inquiries, which include Clarksburg,” he said.

Planning Board spokeswoman Nancy Lineman yesterday said Mr. Dagley is scheduled to re-interview Rose Krasnow, development review chief, on Wednesday. He first interviewed Mrs. Krasnow in May, Ms. Lineman said.

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