Telecommunications Advisory Panel
The TAP was created by the County Council to advise it on matters related to telecommunications policy and regulation in the county. It is covered by Sections 3-3-1801 through 1805 of the Baltimore County Code which calls for 7 members and requires it to meet "at least four times each year". It was viewed as so important that members are required to file annual ethics forms.
The owner of this website was appointed as the 5th District rep to this Panel on July 17, 2017. After being appointed, I tried to find out who the other members were and when it would meet. Multiple requests to various County officials (County Council secretary, OIT, and Ethics Office) came up dry. It seems that no one knew anything about it. Two Public Information Act requests filed on March 12, 2018 didn't even come up with any meaningful information. The next year, the Ethics office finally provided me a list of those who had filed Ethics forms - I was the only one.
When I went to file one of the PIA requests at OIT in Room 33 of the Old Court House as instructed to do on the County website, I was challenged by one official who walked in on my conversation with the admin person. He started asking "How did you get in here?" and "Did someone escort you" as if I had entered the inner sanctum where mere public citizens were not allowed. In fact, I had followed the arrows in the hallway to the unlocked door of Room #33! This is pretty sad how some "county officials" treat citizens. In fact, according to the County Code, membership on an official Board or Commission makes one a "county official".
The appointment was for 2 years to end July 1, 2019. Nevertheless, in 2020 I got a reminder from the Ethics office to file the ethics forms for 2019. (A multi-page form simply to say that I have no financial interest in any telecommunication company, which is kind of ironic considering the Trump fiasco during the same period.) It will be interesting to see if I get another "reminder" in 2021. My "no" will not be too polite.
During this 2-year period of my appointment, there were several issues being discussed by the County Council regarding telecommunications which the TAP was chartered to consider and provide advice. In spite of my several attempts, no effort was ever made to appoint the other 6 members or to schedule a meeting.
Updated 12 Nov 2020