A day after six new members were sworn-in to the 11-member Prince George’s County Council, the board elected new chair Todd Turner of Bowie, Tuesday to lead in the next legislative year.
Turner, who ran unopposed in this year’s election, received a standing ovation when he moved over one chair from vice chair to the chair’s seat during the council’s annual gavel exchange at the administration building in Upper Marlboro.
“To the residents of Prince George’s County, we will serve you to the best of our abilities … and contribute to the legacy we are building in Prince George’s County,” said Turner, who thanked his wife, two daughters, mother and sisters for their support. “As you can see, I have been blessed to be raised, nurtured and surrounded by strong and smart women so I’m ready to serve.”
Turner also used a football analogy to talk about building a team.
“Like a professional football team, included among those seated on the dais today are seasoned veterans and proven free agents from other teams,” he said. “We also have rookies eager to put their skills to the test. We even have one player returning to his old team.
“While our positions on the field may be different, we all share the same goal: building a strong team and winning for team Prince George’s County,” Turner said.
One of those rookies, Rodney Streeter (D-District 7) of Hillcrest Heights, received the nomination to replace Turner as vice chair. Streeter worked with former Councilwoman Andrea Harrison who became elected last month as a state delegate.
“I’m excited to assume the mantle of leadership,” he said during a press conference after being nominated. “I look forward to working with this team [and] the returning members and some brand new talent as we try the course together under a shared leadership model to forge ahead to make this county the best it can be.”
Other new faces include councilmen Calvin S. Hawkins II (At-large) and Sydney Harrison (D-District 9) and Monique Anderson Walker (D-District 8).
Although Jolene Ivey (D-District 5) makes her first time elected to the council, she served as a state delegate from 2007 to 2015.
Councilman Thomas E. Dernoga (D-District 1) of Laurel served on the council for eights year from 2002 to 2010.
The returning members on the all-Democratic council include Deni Taveras; (District 2), Dannielle Glaros (District 3); Derrick Leon Davis (District 6); and Mel Franklin (At-large).
Before the board selected its new leadership, Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks addressed the council.
She also provided each person a small gift: a small clock engraved with their names, title, and an African proverb: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
“We are changing the gavel. It reminded me of the insecurity of time is finite,” Alsobrooks said. “The work we do will last forever.”
Meanwhile, Alsobrooks has already made several appointments to administrative positions with some new and familiar faces. Most of the public service personnel will remain, except one change with Tiffany Green as deputy fire chief, who the county touts as the highest-ranking female fire official in the D.C. area. Green has worked with the county’s fire and emergency services department since 1999.
One particular appointee may receive some scrutiny from the county council, which must confirm certain appointments by the county executive.
Alsobrooks chose Melinda Bolling to lead the Department of Permitting and Inspections. The department received criticism after a girl was electrocuted this summer at the MGM National Harbor casino resort. In the meantime, Bolling faces a lawsuit from advocates for her work during her time as director of the D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs.
Turner said the council will arrange committees to review selected appointees and then hold public hearings to discuss them. He said those individuals would work as “acting” personnel.
Some of the people selected are already familiar to the council, including Mark Magaw, slated to remain as the deputy chief administrative officer for public safety and homeland security.
“We’re going to go through that process and we expect it might be a lot,” he said. “We appreciate the fact [Alsobrooks] is carrying over some people. All of our departments are critical to making sure the right people are there.”