Cumberland Times-News

Editorials

June 19, 2014

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County should use own resources in dump probe

— The Allegany County Commissioners may have set a precedent — and not a good one — in deciding to hire outside counsel to investigate a dump site off Bedford Road.

County Attorney Bill Rudd sent a letter June 17 to Del. Kevin Kelly saying the county has retained Jayci Shaw Duncan of the law firm of Skidmore, Alderson & Duncan to investigate the dump for possible violations of county law.

The dump site is in the 13000 block of Fleetwood Drive and residents of that area contend use of the property violates county zoning codes. The issue is an ongoing one that dates back to 2004.

Complicating the issue is ownership of the property. Kelly said the property is owned by Stallings Contracting and leased to Hochard Contracting. Kelly and residents have said the company holding the property is owned by Steve Stallings, who is listed as an Allegany County building code inspector. Stallings has not responded to a request for comment.

Why wouldn’t the commissioners — as Kelly has suggested — simply visit the site and investigate the matter for themselves? Hiring an outside attorney at county expense is nothing more than frivolous spending. Taxpayers already pay Rudd to offer up opinions on whether a county code or law has been violated.

We can’t think of another occasion when county government has hired another attorney to investigate a dump issue. The Fleetwood Drive problem is now way more complicated — and expensive — than it had to be.

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