Harford County Council Member Calls For Investigation Into Pre-Vote Fund Transfer To Emergency Services

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HARFORD COUNTY - On Wednesday, Harford County Council member, Aaron Penman, called for an investigation into a fund transfer to the Department of Emergency Services, which had yet to be voted on by the council.

Bill 23-012 was Introduced on April 18 by Council President Patrick Vincenti at the behest of Harford County Executive Bob Cassilly and was subject to a public hearing on May 16. The proposed legislation would sanction $7 million of the county's general fund for the recruitment of EMTs and paramedics and the acquisition of medical equipment and ambulances.

A vote on the bill, initially scheduled for Tuesday's legislative session, was postponed due to the proposed investigation.

During Tuesday's council meeting, Penman raised the alarm that the $7 million had been shifted to the emergency services department on May 2, ahead of council approval. He characterized this as a clear violation of the Harford County Charter. An audit revealed this premature transfer, which was reversed back to the county's general fund before the council meeting.

Cassilly described the fund transfer as "appropriate, routine, and necessary," seeing Penman's criticisms as an unjustified affront on the integrity and competence of his administration.

According to Cassilly, the $7 million was added to the emergency services department's budget in the county's financial system to complete year-end reports by the county's treasury department.

"The director of DES can, without council approval, properly spend within his total budget provided he does not exceed the total amount," Cassilly said.

Penman stressed the need for an investigation to understand the nature and precedent of such a fund transfer.

The next meeting of the Harford County Council is scheduled for Tuesday, May 30.

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