Wandering Eye:

O's make offer to Davis, audit finds flaws in monitoring drunk drivers, and more

A state audit of the Maryland Division of Parole and Probation found that drunk drivers were systematically undercharged their probation fees and restitution, and the division used taxpayer's money to make up the difference. "None of the field offices reviewed had established a documented supervisory review process to ensure all fees and restitution were properly calculated and recorded" in the computer system, the auditors wrote. The audit resulted from a tip received on the fraud hotline, and while it found no fraud, it estimates that undercharges totaled $2.1 million—about a third of what the program collected in 2014. The money pays for the monitoring of the state's 14,000 or so probationary drunk drivers, and the program used to be overfunded, but has fallen short since 2012. "Consequently, the surplus created in the [drunk-driver monitoring program] fund in previous years was exhausted during fiscal year 2014," the audit says. Starting in 2015, The Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services began charging payroll expenses in the drunk-driver program to the general fund, instead of the drunk drivers fund, as before. This hid the deficit, which auditors estimate at $650,000. City Paper recently wrote about the drunk-driving monitoring program, quoting several probationers who described a confusing intake process, and a Dundalk pastor who accused the division of "dumping cases"—not properly monitoring drunk drivers and failing to ensure their access to drug and alcohol treatment. The division denies this is happening, but the audit calls for better guidance to field offices to create a consistent intake process. "We noted inconsistencies in that some field offices were reducing DDMP fees when a case was abated while others were not," the audit says. The division agreed with the audit findings and pledged to create intake guidelines by January of next year. (Edward Ericson Jr.)

 

'90s kids everywhere were saddened to hear about the passing of former Stone Temple Pilots frontman Scott Weiland. There's a good chance many of you reading this have a copy of "Core" somewhere. Most everyone knew of Weiland's long battle with substance problems, but those battles were cast in a new, troubling light in an essay penned for Rolling Stone by Mary Forsberg Weiland, Scott Weiland's ex-wife, and the mother of his two teenage children, Noah, 15, and Lucy, 13. In it, she paints the picture of an absentee father who could not escape his own demons. She writes: "Noah and Lucy never sought perfection from their dad. They just kept hoping for a little effort. If you're a parent not giving your best effort, all anyone asks is that you try just a little harder and don't give up. Progress, not perfection, is what your children are praying for." It's a heavy read. (Brandon Weigel)

 

The Orioles have made an offer to first baseman Chris Davis, reportedly a seven-year deal worth $150 million, according to The Sun. That works out to an annual average of $21.42 million, short of the $22 million a year Davis' agent, Scott Boras, is said to be seeking. While the O's are definitely in a much smaller market than, say, New York, this is a pretty staggering paragraph from Eduardo Encina: "Nearly half of the 30 major league clubs have a player who makes an annual average salary of $22 million or more. The Orioles' highest-paid player, center fielder Adam Jones, makes an average of $14.25 million." Maybe it's time to pay up. (Brandon Weigel)

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