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Baltimore City building inspectors potentially bribed by contractors says report from Inspector General

Baltimore, (Qnnflash) – A recent report emerging from the Baltimore City Inspector General’s office has shed light on attempted bribery incidents involving building inspectors associated with the Department of Housing and Community Development (DCHD).

Released on Tuesday, the report clarifies that despite the Inspector General’s Office not being able to substantiate claims of a building inspector accepting bribes from a contractor to expedite a Use and Occupancy permit, their investigation did unveil instances where other building inspectors had encountered and reported similar attempts aimed at them.

Building inspectors, being the primary city representatives during inspections, wield significant authority in granting or denying permits and licenses, thus obviating the need for supervisory intervention. Within this context, the report outlines two notable cases where building inspectors found themselves confronted with bribery propositions.

In one case, a contractor presented an envelope containing multiple $100 bills to an inspector. Another instance involved a contractor offering money to an inspector, who deferred acceptance until the amount was confirmed to be within an “allowable dollar limit” as per DCHD’s policy. Importantly, these instances emphasize the potential vulnerability of building inspectors to undue influence, considering their pivotal role in the approval process.

Curiously, the report underscores that DCHD’s existing policy lacks clear guidelines regarding the course of action an employee should pursue upon encountering offers of money or gifts. In the absence of explicit protocols, it remains uncertain how employees should address such situations.

The state of Maryland has legislation in place that designates the acceptance of monetary or non-monetary gifts as potential criminal acts of bribery, particularly when public employees are involved. This legal context places considerable importance on ensuring that guidelines and procedures are established to equip employees with the knowledge and direction needed when confronted with attempts to compromise their integrity.

While the Inspector General’s report doesn’t confirm the occurrence of bribery among building inspectors in the specific case investigated, it highlights the broader concern of preventing such incidents and protecting the integrity of public services. By establishing clear protocols and fostering a robust ethical environment, DCHD and similar entities can proactively safeguard against potential ethical breaches and uphold the public’s trust in their operations.

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