More background on this situation can be found here. Below is part of an e-mail I got about why this is relevant to Prince Georges County, MD
Last week, County Executive Jack Johnson nominated his Deputy Chief Administrative Officer David Byrd (previously chief of staff to Maryland Lt. Governor Michael S. Steele) to replace Sam Parker as chair of the planning board. There has been an outcry from elected officials and activists countywide about this. See Washington Post article and blog post for more information.
To quote the Washington Post, “If Byrd is confirmed by the County Council, the next executive would be forced to keep him on for the rest of his four-year term. With a role in approving much of the county’s development, the board chairman is one of the most critical appointments the county executive can make.” Jack Johnson is term limited and a new county executive will be elected in November. This move appears to be an effort by Johnson to influence development in Prince George’s County for years after he has left office.
Sam Parker is a trained planner and is doing a relatively good job. This fall we will elect a new county executive. After the election, the new county executive should be able to appoint a chair to serve for the bulk of their term.
The Council will have a public hearing Tuesday at 10 am, then Wednesday it goes to committee. If you would like to weigh in on this issue, you can either attend the hearing on Tuesday and provide brief testimony, or you can email written testimony to the Council.
Fortunately, even if Byrd is appointed, Prince George’s County Delegates are trying to limit the impact of this, which you can read about in The Gazette.