Pr. George's Council Okays Furlough, Delays Lease
In its final session of the summer Tuesday, the Prince George's County Council approved a plan to furlough county workers for 10 days for the second straight year, but deferred a vote on a controversial measure to lease a pricey office space in New Carrollton amid cries from critics that it is wasteful and ill-timed.
The furloughs, included in the county's adopted budget earlier this year, received final approval after weeks of delay. Public safety union leaders have been vocal opponents of the furloughs, arguing they will endanger citizens in need of emergency responders.
The lease proposal was thought to have died in committee earlier this year, when critics, including public safety union officials, decried the effort as unaffordable as the county was facing a budget crisis, furloughing employees and considering mass layoffs.
Council member Eric Olson (D-College Park) revived the lease plan at county executive Jack B. Johnson's request last month, asking the council to approve a 10-year lease at about $1 million a year of 38,000 square feet attached to a New Carrollton hotel.
The goal is to move employees in the Department of Housing and Community Development and the Housing and Redevelopment Authorities from their existing county-owned locations in Largo to the rental space.
Johnson (D) has been lobbying the council to approve the measure, arguing that the existing space is outdated, unsafe and inconvenient, and recently took members of the council on a tour of the Largo building to demonstrate his case.
Advocates at a public hearing Tuesday argued that the move would help revitalize the New Carrollton area, and would offer more convenient transportation.
-- Jonathan Mummolo
Christopher Dean Hopkins
July 21, 2009; 1:32 PM ET
Categories: Jonathan Mummolo , Prince George's County
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