Orientation begins for Pr. George's County Council
The Prince George's County Council, which has five new members, begins two days of orientation Monday for its newcomers, and anyone who might want a refresher.
Among the missing: new council member Leslie Johnson (D), who last week was sworn in but then denied committee assignments by her colleagues after a heated discussion behind closed doors. However, she still has a vote as a member of the full council, so the orientation could come in handy for her and her constituents in Prince George's District 6. She will get a private briefing. Council spokeswoman Karen Campbell said Johnson would not attend either day because of a family commitment. Monday had been the original date that Johnson and her husband were due in court on federal corruption charges, but that has been pushed off to February.
New council member Mary Lehman does not attend due to the unexpected death of her brother last week.
Because only four members were at the orientation -- less than the quorum of five: Council Chairman Ingrid Turner and newcomers Mel Franklin, Obie Patterson and Karen Toles -- the council staff did not post public notice that the sessions are being held. But the meetings are open to the public, are running through 3:30 p.m. Monday, and begin again at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday in Room 2027 of the County Administration Building.
Notice of the meeting, though not required by the Maryland Open Meetings Act because there was no quorum, was posted outside the council clerk's office in Upper Marlboro, but not on the council agenda on its Web site. There was an advisory to reporters posted Monday morning.
Monday's session focused on land use and planning, issues that have cast a shadow over the county because of federal corruption charges pending against Johnson, and her husband, former County Executive Jack B. Johnson. The Johnsons were arrested Nov. 12 after federal officials said they overheard the couple on a wiretap plotting to tear up a $100,000 check from a developer and figuring out how Leslie Johnson could hide $79,600 in cash.
On Tuesday, the new members will get tutorials on the legislative process. All members are Democrats.
This post has been updated since it was first published.
Miranda S. Spivack
| December 13, 2010; 10:43 AM ET
Categories: Miranda Spivack, Prince George's County
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