The Montgomery County Council has granted the Merit System Protection Board, a watchdog agency, an additional $50,000 in emergency funds to study additional allegations of hiring violations uncovered during an investigation of the county department of liquor control.

The new investigation emerges from an 18-month-old controversy over the way jobs are awarded in the agency. The board already has focused on several allegations surrounding Leonard Colodny -- a former consultant to County Executive Charles Gilchrist -- and Irwin Feldman, who has appealed the selection and hiring of the current deputy director of the liquor department.

In a statement earlier this week, the board said that "during the investigation of alleged violations in the Department of Liquor Control, we were made aware of a substantial number of other alleged irregularities in the recruitment and selection process throughout the county government."

Specifically, the board will review four appointments, "as well as (conduct) an overall study of the county's recruitment process."

Gilchrist has told the board that it could release the sworn depositions he gave the board earlier this year "as long as they don't compromise anyone's rights," according to his aide, Ed Rovner.

The board has decided to drop two of five tentative "findings of fact" in the case made last July. The board dropped the charge that the position of the deputy directorship for the liquor department was not properly announced and advertised, and the charge that it was inappropriate for Pierre Eaton -- former chairman of the Liquor Advisory Board -- to sit on the Qualification Appraisal Board."

The board still will continue its investigation that there may have been an improper selection of applicants to be interviewed and that there was improper interference in the screening and examination process for the post.