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Leggett Goes After Waste

The Washington Post
Thursday, February 16, 2006; Page GZ02

County executive candidate Isiah Leggett told Clarksburg Civic Association members last week that if he wins, he will strengthen the inspector general's office, the agency that investigates government waste and fraud.

Leggett, who is opposing council member Steven A. Silverman (D-At Large) for the Democratic nomination, also promised to give more power to the Office of the People's Counsel, which helps residents participate in land-use hearings.

Leggett was instrumental in creating both agencies during his four terms on the County Council. He said he had intended for the two bodies to have more authority than they have now.

"You're going to have access," Leggett told the small group that met at the Hyattstown Volunteer Fire Department headquarters in Clarksburg last Thursday night. "You're going to have a seat at the table because I want to hear from you. You're going to have morality and ethics. You're going to have efficiency and effectiveness."

Some of the civic association members said they had told county officials that developers in Clarksburg had ignored height and setback requirements but did not get a response until the issue appeared in the media.

Leggett didn't place blame for the Clarksburg controversy. But he did say it reflected a failure in the system. Leggett promised to listen to all citizen complaints.

"We cannot rely on a system in which ordinary citizens have to become professional civic activists in order for the system to respond," Leggett said.

Leggett also said he wants County Council members to decide quickly whether current Planning Board Chairman Derick P. Berlage will be appointed to a second term.

Silverman, who chairs the council committee that makes recommendations on land-use decisions, has also promised to improve the planning system.

© 2006 The Washington Post Company