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Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Council chair Turner speaks about ethics on TBD's NewsTalk

NewsTalk with Bruce DePuyt, 7 Feb 2011
We also talked today with Ingrid Turner, chairwoman of the Prince George’s County Council. She declared that Prince George’s “is safe,” despite the surge in homicides in early January. She expressed faith in interim Police Chief Mark Magaw, though she would not comment on whether Executive Rushern Baker should make him the permanent chief. Turner talked up the need for more community involvement.

The Council has been accused of “blocking” ethics reform legislation proposed by Baker in the wake of the arrest of former Executive Jack Johnson and his wife, Leslie, now a member of the Council. Turner did her best to avoid commenting on the two bills either way, saying they have yet to be filed officially. That would appear to be a false claim, since one of the bills is here and the other is here.

In any event, the general gist of Baker’s bills has been public for weeks. He announced them at a press conference. His office distributed a press release. And he’s done numerous media interviews. Clearly, there’s been plenty of time for Turner and her colleagues to form some kind of opinion about the proposals and to possible alternatives.

The chairwoman said the Council supports the goal of reform but wants to make sure that the public’s representatives are able to weigh in when development projects are proposed.

Turner said she is meeting with the heads of the county’s House and Senate delegations tonight and would be happy to discuss the issue of ethics again in the future. (She also volunteered that Leslie Johnson is doing a fabulous job, despite having her clout diminished by her colleagues following her arrest.)

We also talked about last week’s news that budget concerns may force the Prince George’s County Schools to lay off more than 1,100 workers. Some parents and teachers have come forward to urge Superintendent Hite to find other ways of closing the gap. Here’s Turner’s take on that:

1 comment:

  1. We need to think carefully about the "ethics reform" of denying County Councilmembers the ability to call up a development plan that affects communities they represent. The Washington Post 2/4 editorial opinion on this is ill-founded, and the Post published my letter on this on 2/8. No abuses of this authority have been substantiated, yet many times this process has yielded benefits to entire communities facing new development. --Todd Reitzel