OIGE finds Prince George’s Co. school board ethics panel spent over $100K investigating members

The Office of the Inspector General for Education in Prince George’s County, Maryland, has issued several recommendations for the school board following an investigation into the management of that board’s Ethics Advisory Panel.

“In September 2021, the OIGE initiated an investigation after receiving a series of complaints, submitted by parents of Prince George’s County Public School (PGCPS) students, county residents and elected officials,” according to background information in the report.

“The complaints alleged that the Prince George’s County Board of Education’s Ethics Advisory Panel (EAP) used taxpayer funds to conduct an improper investigation of several Elected Board members,” the report stated.

The inspector general’s report says the EAP spent more than $100,000 to investigate several school board members last year. The findings from those investigations resulted in a flawed report.

“Throughout the OIGE interview process, it was discovered that information contained in the EAP’s report was improperly referenced or factually inaccurate,” the OIGE reported in its findings on Friday.

“Our investigation substantiated that the Chair of the PGBOE, the Acting General Counsel, and the Chair of the PGBOE Ethics Advisory Panel violated PGCPS Board Policy 0107,” the OIGE report said. “These violations indicated an apparent misunderstanding or disregard for board policies, which allowed the EAP’s ‘investigation’ to expand without the appropriate oversight.”

The inspector general’s office is now making several recommendations to the Prince George’s County School Board.

“The Board should review Board Policy 3323 and governing procedures to ensure competition in procurement is preferred in making certain they obtain fair prices for services. Contracts should be competitively procured to ensure transparency and are the best value for the board,” the inspector general’s office said.

A full list of recommendations can be seen online on the OIGE website.

Earlier this summer, County Executive Angela Alsobrooks asked Chair Juanita Miller to step down, but Miller has repeatedly refused. Alsobrooks has no legal authority to fire the board chair.

Miller did not respond to WTOP’s request for a comment.

In May, the county started searching for applicants for their five-member Ethics Advisory Panel.

Anna-Lysa Gayle

Anna-Lysa Gayle is an award-winning reporter and anchor, with five Emmy awards and more. Before joining WTOP, she spent nearly a decade as a TV news reporter for ABC and CBS news affiliates.

Like WTOP on Facebook and follow WTOP on Twitter and Instagram to engage in conversation about this article and others.

Get breaking news and daily headlines delivered to your email inbox by signing up here.

© 2022 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up