Montgomery County Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson apologized Friday for serving alcoholic beverages in his Wheaton office as the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission’s Office of the Inspector General continues investigating how long the practice occurred and how often.
WJLA first reported that a whistleblower had notified the inspector general’s office that Anderson had a bar set up in his office and would serve alcoholic drinks to colleagues. An investigation by the inspector general has determined that Anderson has been providing drinks in his office at least twice a month, and one employee reported having participated in the practice since September 2020, the news station reported.
WJLA reported that multiple employees shared drinks with Anderson in his office and that his bar contained more than 32 liquor bottles, according to the inspector general’s findings.
In a brief interview, Anderson acknowledged the investigation but said he could not comment further. Anderson also serves as chair of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, which includes members from both Montgomery and Prince George’s planning boards, and focuses on parks and planning issues affecting both counties.
“This was not a daily or even a weekly occurrence, it was [done] occasionally, and really, I think that’s all I can say,” Anderson said.
He then elaborated upon his response in a text message.
“Until recently I kept alcohol in the office and from time to time shared a drink with colleagues — at the end of the workday, after regular business hours,” Anderson wrote. “I should not have done this in a Commission office building, even after work. I take full responsibility, I have removed the alcohol, and I apologize.”
County Council President Gabe Albornoz confirmed Friday that the council was investigating the matter but said he could not comment further. The council has authority over the Planning Board as it confirms appointments to that body.
The county’s Office of Human Resources establishes guidelines for county employees and alcohol use. It states that county employees “must not be impaired by, or under the influence of, alcohol while at work, on County property, or on duty,” but does not reference the Planning Board or employees specifically.
“We are concerned about the allegations, we have received the [inspector general’s] report … this is a personnel matter, and we are limited in what we can say,” Albornoz said.
Peter Shapiro is chair of the Prince George’s County Planning Commission and the vice chair of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission.
In an interview on Friday, Shapiro said he was not aware of the existence of Anderson’s bar or that Anderson was sharing alcoholic beverages with employees, before the inspector general report. Shapiro said a zero-tolerance policy concerning the serving and use of alcohol in county offices, for the bi-county commission, has been in place since 1995.
Shapiro said that in his capacity as vice chair of the commission, the inspector general’s report was “very concerning.” He emphasized that further disciplinary action rests with the Montgomery County Council.
“I’m very mindful and concerned about this, and the implications of it on the commission overall … because I think that leadership models the good behavior we want to see with the rest of the commission,” Shapiro said. “So it’s always problematic when leadership models the wrong behavior.”
Renee Kenney, the inspector general for the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, could not immediately be reached Friday for comment via phone or email.