Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot vowed to send more messages on providing air conditioning in classrooms to Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and said he expects fallout from a decision Wednesday to fence off $15 million in school construction money.
Franchot made the comments just one day after he and Gov. Larry Hogan voted to fence off school construction money for Baltimore County and Baltimore City in more than five year battle over the lack of air conditioning in schools in those jurisdictions.
“At some point you get tired of begging your fellow politicians and begging bureaucrats to do the right thing,” Franchot said Thursday during an appearance on the C4 Show. “We put the hammer down yesterday. Believe me, it’s going to be a series of messages to the Baltimore County executive.”
Franchot went on to accuse Kamenetz, a fellow Democrat, of “mass dereliction of duty” for what he described as a failure to provide a temporary solution for air conditioning in classrooms as the county moves forward with a systemic renovation plan what will provide all schools with central air conditioning by 2019.
The comptroller criticized that plan, calling it “a work of fiction, not worth the paper it’s printed on. It’s a fairytale, it’s a fantasy, it’s a falsehood.”
The Board of Public Works voted 2-1 on Wednesday to fence-off $10 million in school construction money earmarked for Baltimore County and $5 million earmarked for the city until both systems provide the board with a plan to provide temporary window units in 4,000 classrooms by the fall.
Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp, the third member of the board, voted against that proposal.
Kamenetz, in an interview Wednesday, called the actions illegal and hinted at legal action — words Franchot is taking seriously.
“I’d be surprised if they don’t sue us or call a special session (of the General Assembly),” Franchot said Thursday.