Monday, April 01, 2013

Delegates with potential conflicts of interest re Rushern Baker's school coup d'etat (Part eight)

The non-legislative employment of some of the Prince George's County delegates who will act upon Rushern Baker's school takeover plan raises the question of potential conflicts of interest and whether those delegates should recuse themselves from acting on related bills. 

These potential conflicts have been ignored in mainstream media reports on legislative support of or opposition to Baker's plan.

Del. Jolene Ivey (D-47) is the delegate who has been most often quoted as a strong supported of the Baker plan.  According to her official biography on the Maryland General Assembly website, Ivey has been "Director, Media Relations, Community Teachers Institute" since 2004.  Baker was Executive Director of the Community Teacher's Institute for a number of years before taking office as County Executive in 2010.  Shortly before Baker's election there were press reports that the institute was the subject of a state investigation. 

In September 2012 "The Real Prince George's" blog reported that Ivey "has a strong relationship with County Executive Rushern Baker."  An extensive search has not turned up any news or reports of her employment by Baker.  Has Ivey's support for the Baker plan been influenced by that employment relationship?

Del. Dereck E. Davis (D-25) has been quoted in the press as a supporter of the Baker plan and prepared an amendment to bill HB 1107 that would, if  adopted, give Baker the authority he seeks.  According to his official biography, Davis has been "Deputy Director, Prince George's County Office of Community Relations" since 2011.  That means he was appointed to that position by Baker or one of Baker's subordinates.

On the Maryland General Assembly website page for Prince George's County, Davis and his position are listed under the county's Chief of Staff, along with other officials responsible for communications and outreach.  Has Davis' support for the Baker plan been based on or influenced by his employment as a communicator for the Baker administration?

Del. James W. Hubbard (D-23A) apparently has not been quoted in the press.  He did support Baker's 2002 intervention in school governance.  According to his official biography, Hubbard has been "Executive Assistant to Deputy Director, Dept. of Corrections, Prince George's County" since 2003.  SO, while he is a county employee under Baker, he has held that position since long before Baker took office, his position is far removed from Baker's immediate supervision, and he is not directly involved in either education or communicating Baker's policies to the public.

Del. Carolyn J. B. Howard (D-24) apparently has not been quoted in the press.  She did not support Baker's 2002 intervention in school governance.  According to her official biography, Howard has been "Director, Department of Federal Programs, Prince George's County Public Schools" since 2000.  She works in the school system, ultimately under the supervision of the superintendent and school board, so her employment could be affected by the outcome of pending legislation to effect Baker's plan.

It would be useful to know if any of these delegates have sought or obtained ethics or legal advice on the potential conflicts of interest, but does not seem likely that they, or the media, will tell us.

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