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Montgomery council docks pay of official who kept alcohol in office

Casey Anderson, chair of the Montgomery County Planning Board, will lose four weeks' pay as punishment for keeping alcohol in his government office. (John Kelly/The Washington Post)

Casey Anderson, the chairman of the Montgomery Planning Board who was investigated for keeping and sharing alcohol in his government office, will have four weeks of his pay docked as punishment, the Montgomery County Council announced Tuesday.

Two other planning board officials who an investigation found accepted drinks from Anderson, Vice Chair Partap Verma and Commissioner Carol Rubin, will lose one day of their salaries.

“I have accepted the County Council’s decision, I have taken responsibility for my actions and I have apologized,” Anderson said in a statement. “I remain committed to the important work of our agency and the county government in moving our community forward.”

Reached by phone, Verma and Rubin said they accepted the council’s decision.

The Maryland Office of the Inspector General began investigating Anderson in August after receiving an anonymous email alleging that Anderson kept a large amount of hard alcohol in his Wheaton office and shared drinks with employees, according to a confidential memo obtained by The Washington Post. Planning Board employee rules prohibit employees from keeping or drinking alcohol on agency property.

The email included an image, which was verified by the inspector general, of a cabinet containing several bottles of name-brand hard alcohol, cups, a cocktail shaker and a lemon press. According to the IG’s investigation, Anderson routinely served alcoholic drinks to employees and visitors in his office, including Verma and Rubin. Verma said he accepted an alcoholic drink on one occasion from Anderson but did not drink it. Rubin said she accepted a single drink during a celebratory toast with Anderson after joining the Planning Board, and that she did not accept or drink any other alcoholic drinks at any time afterward.

Anderson, who has served as Planning Board chair since 2014, apologized in September. He is term-limited, and the county council will appoint a new board member and chair next year.

Anderson, Verma and Rubin will also be required to attend counseling from an employee assistance program.

“Montgomery County Planning Board leadership must model the behavior that we want all employees to display,” the council said in a statement.

This story has been updated to include comments from Carol Rubin.