Monthly Archives: August 2017

After protest in his district, Miller says he regrets offering his ‘historical perspective’ about Justice

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Kayan Morgan, 4, stands among a coalition of pastors and civil rights activists in front of B.K. Miller’s Meats and Liquors in Clinton, Md., on Monday. The group is protesting Miller’s opposition to the removal of former chief justice Roger B. Taney’s statue from the State House grounds. (Allison Shelley/For The Washington Post)

Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., under fire for opposing the removal of a statue of former Supreme Court chief justice Roger B. Taney from the State House grounds, said Monday that he did not intend to cause division by defending the author of the Dred Scott decision.

“As a student of history, I intended to respectfully state my preference for education about our flawed history and the greater historical context of Justice Taney,” Miller (D-Calvert) said in a statement. “I do regret that sharing my historical perspective has distracted from the larger issue we must face together as a nation and from my role to bring unity and fight for a better Maryland.”

Miller’s comments came shortly after a dozen African American ministers and community activists staged a protest against him in a section of Prince George’s County that is part of the district Miller has represented for more than 40 years.

Standing on the street in Clinton, Md., where Miller’s family owns a liquor store and he operates a law firm, the demonstrators carried handwritten signs that read “No Bigotry, No Racism” and “Black Lives Matter” and chanted “Miller and Taney, both the same.”

They said Miller’s support for Taney, known for his defense of slavery, was a show of disrespect to voters in his district and patrons who support his family’s businesses.

“Our state senator, who we’ve supported overwhelming with black votes, with Democratic votes, chose to throw egg on the face of every one of his supporters by supporting Roger Taney,” said the Rev. Bruce Branch, executive director of the Maryland Business Clergy Partnership and a candidate for Prince George’s County Council in 2018. “The electorate has to wonder, whose side is our Senate president on?”

House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) and Gov. Larry Hogan (R) called for the removal of the Taney statue this month, in the wake of the deadly violence in Charlottesville that followed a rally in support of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Miller, the longest-serving senate president in the country, then sent a letter to Hogan defending Taney’s character and describing him as a man with a “complex” past and a long history of public service.He credited Taney for “anti-slavery words and actions,” saying that “unlike George Washington who freed his slaves upon his death, Taney freed his slaves early in his life.”

In his statement Monday, Miller publicly addressed the violence in Charlottesville for the first time, calling it “horrific and reprehensible . . . the unspeakable acts of racists” and reiterated his past criticism of the “wrongheaded” Dred Scott ruling, which said black people could never be citizens, whether slaves or free.

The protesters said they supported calls by state Sen. C. Anthony Muse (D-Prince George’s), to censure Miller and are seeking to meet with Miller to discuss racial and social justice and an elimination of pre-formed Democratic slates in Prince George’s County primaries.

Miller spokesman, Jake Weissmann, declined to comment on the protesters’ statements. He said Miller’s office had not received a request for a meeting.

Via Washington Post

Read more >>> Lawmaker wants to censure Md. Senate President Mike Miller for Bad leadership

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Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., the longest-serving Senate president in the country, is a member of the Maryland State House Trust, the four-member panel that voted 3 to 0 last week to remove the 145-year-old statue. The 46-year lawmaker, who has long defended the statue as an important piece of Maryland history, refused to vote. Under Miller, institutional racism has been very high especially within state agencies and the court system in Maryland. Senator Miller also owns a number of liquor stores which are open 7 days a week in the county to benefit him personally.

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Prince George’s Schools to Be Audited Amid Graduation Rate Claims

Prince+Georges+StudentsThe state of Maryland has hired a company to evaluate graduation rates in Prince George’s County Public Schools after allegations that teachers and principals have inflated grades and ignored students’ absences in order to boost the graduation rate.

The Maryland State Department of Education has awarded a contract to the D.C. company Alvarez & Marsal, the department announced Tuesday. The company will begin an audit immediately, the department said.

Gov. Larry Hogan requested earlier this summer that the state education department investigate possible wrongdoing.

“Ensuring that all Maryland children have access to a world-class education is a top priority of my administration, and I am deeply troubled by these allegations regarding one of our school systems, which have now been brought to my attention by multiple sources,” Hogan wrote in a June 25 letter to State Board of Education Board President Andrew Smarick.

PGCPS CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell previously said it’s false that the school system allows students to graduate even if their grades are too low or they have too many absences.

“From the beginning, I have maintained that politics lie at the root of these accusations. There has been no systemic effort to promote students in Prince George’s County Public Schools who did not meet state graduation requirements in order to inflate our graduation rates. We look forward to collaborating with the Maryland State Department of Education to resolve this matter,” he said in a statement he issued in June.

The audit of the school system’s graduation rates is set to be complete by Oct. 31.

Source: Prince George’s Schools to Be Audited Amid Graduation Rate Claims – NBC4 Washington http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Prince-Georges-Schools-to-Be-Audited-Amid-Graduation-Rate-Claims-442130073.html#ixzz4rATdNrHh

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Prince George’s county Map highlighted in yellow color is a unique County with chances for success with proper accountability and transparency.

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Maryland delegate is facing mounting pressure to explain questionable Hiring

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Former Chief of Staff  for Delegate Darrl Barnes (pictured) Darrell Miller is currently running for District 7 Council- Rep in next year’s election cycle for 2018.

Upper Marlboro —Maryland delegate Darrl Barnes is in trouble for endorsing Mr. Darrell Miller (a former mayor accused of theft). Recently in an online posting which was brought to our attention,  delegate Darrl Barnes was asked to explain why he hired a thief as a Chief of Staff in Annapolis this past year and then subliminally endorsed him for  District 7 Council- Rep in next year’s election cycle for 2018.

In a facebook post, Mr. Ron Williams says that the delegate Darrl Barnes should explain and not fake like he didn’t know what he was talking about.  The Prince George’s County activist Citizen attached a post from wjla to proof his point.  Adding that, Delegate’s statement was no different than saying let’s keep the same corrupt individuals in office because they got faults but yet they never do anything for us?

In 2018, Maryland citizens needs to wake up and elect leaders with strong commitment to public service who have no ties to public corruption. Conflict of interest amongst political leaders and public officials, as we understand it today is a major problem in the county. There is a major need to reform the Maryland court system which is tied to other states.

With one of the highest incarceration rates in the world, the U.S. prison system is in desperate need of reform. Issues of overcrowding, the school-to-prison pipeline, and racial disparity in sentencing dominate headlines and point to serious underlying problems with American criminal justice. Though these institutional flaws are becoming widely recognized, and legislators across ideological lines are attempting to enact reforms many barriers to change remain.

In addressing these issues, the most decisive means of dismantling kleptocratic power structures is prosecution and adjudication of the crimes that empower them. In most if not all of these regimes, however, the legal system has been coopted or cowed by prevailing elites. When contemplating an international intervention into such regimes where obstructionist elites enjoy impunity, the international community has shackled itself with a false dichotomy between either completely replacing the local legal system. In this regard, there is no difference to what is happening in Prince George’s County and other parts of the world facing government corruption tied to these issues.

The county leadership and the citizenry can do better in the 2018 election cycle. Let us hope that, you will no longer vote for the people that only have yearly BBQs but for the people on the ground that are fighting issues, creating legislation, supporting your children, sending you resources, helping you when you have been victimized etc.  In the past and even now, there is a culture in Maryland of isolating people running for public office who speak truth to power.

There have been cases. Take for example the case of Denise M. Joseph – Education, Community and Youth Advocate who recently narrated her ordeal on how her campaign was sabotaged by the establishment.  Mrs. Denise M. Joseph stated in details on her facebook post what transpired during the election season, she wrote in part…….. In fact, they banded around to not get me there. They told people to not vote for me, to not support me, to not put me on their ticket and they may have even went far enough and told my friends not to help me AND the people that were helping me, they asked them to sabotage my campaign.”

Denise M. Joseph concluded by directing her followers and others to run for public office by attaching Filing Requirements for Candidacy in 2018. BOE Member Raaheela Ahmed, District 5 went through similar fate and there was open hostility due to her background during the campaign. In Ms. Ahmed’s case, the will of the people prevailed and she is now a Board member. There are many cases all over the county of great candidates with commitment to public service who were pushed to the sidelines to such a great loss to the public. 

Prince George’s County deserves better years ahead. The county citizenry has a responsibility to elect great leaders in 2018 irrespective of their racial backgrounds.

It’s time to drain the swamp and the sewer at once!

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Delegate Darryl Barnes during a radio show engineered by Roland Grimes — with Darryl Barnes in Upper Marlboro Maryland. 

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Prince George’s county Map highlighted in yellow color is a unique County with chances for success with proper accountability and transparency.

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Maryland Judges should attend Gov. Hogan’s crime meeting, along with the public

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Governor Larry Hogan (Seen here) stated that, “It’s beyond time to assemble those responsible for the city’s public safety in a room to candidly discuss the crisis Baltimore is facing and to answer for their actions — or lack thereof — in stemming the bloodshed. At the very least, judges should explain how it is that the majority of people convicted of gun offenses in the city, 60 percent, are ordered to serve less than half their sentences. They don’t need to discuss specific cases or violate rules of procedure, just explain the judiciary’s process so the citizens who pay their salaries can make an informed decision about whether justice is indeed being served.”

The refusal for Maryland Judges not to attend governor’s meeting on crime has been widely condemned as unacceptable in many areas in Maryland. In recent times, Baltimore city Judges awarded several lawyers who engaged in an organized schemes in Maryland and elsewhere by dismissing cases brought against corrupt lawyers which is an ongoing issue in the state. What the Judges do not seem to get is that, crime in Baltimore city has major ties to other parts of the state such as Prince George’s County, Montgomery county and elsewhere. We will be publishing the latest on appeals here in this blog. So stay tuned. Once again the Governor seem to have heard our cries over the years. Public corruption in Maryland is destroying communities and families in Maryland. Baltimore Sun Reports:

Via Baltimore Sun

As the bodies mount in Baltimore — with teen-agers now a routine part of the homicide toll — Gov. Larry Hogan has rightly called for a “frank and honest” meeting to be held Tuesday among city criminal justice officials to address the violence. But now judges have begged off, claiming they don’t have to answer questions about their work because they’re above being “swayed by public clamor or fear of criticism.”

We respect the independent nature of the judiciary, and certainly wouldn’t want our governor to try to unduly influence it, as our president is doing at the federal level. But we not only believe that judges should participate in the meeting, but that Mr. Hogan should open it to the public — as such meetings of the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC) typically are. The most unusual thing about this one is that the governor will be in attendance; he often sends a representative.

It’s beyond time to assemble those responsible for the city’s public safety in a room to candidly discuss the crisis Baltimore is facing and to answer for their actions — or lack thereof — in stemming the bloodshed. At the very least, judges should explain how it is that the majority of people convicted of gun offenses in the city, 60 percent, are ordered to serve less than half their sentences. They don’t need to discuss specific cases or violate rules of procedure, just explain the judiciary’s process so the citizens who pay their salaries can make an informed decision about whether justice is indeed being served.

The three judges invited to the meeting — Charles Peters, the judge in charge of the criminal docket for the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, and administrative judges W. Michel Pierson (city circuit court) and Barbara Baer Waxman (district court) — are regular CJCC members as it is, and have presumably been able to speak for themselves in the past.

Perhaps the issue is that prior meetings frequently have been less about finding solutions to city crime problems than filling time through tired power point presentations about the status of various initiatives. Now that “frank and honest” crime containment is the stated goal, the judges are out, and the governor wants to slam the doors on the people, hosting the CJCC meeting privately at his Baltimore office on St. Paul Street, instead of publicly in the city’s Courthouse East, where it’s usually held.

That’s unfortunate, given that a 2001 memorandum of understanding making the council (ad hoc since 1999) permanent, explicitly states that the purpose of the group is to address “systemic problems” and improve the “performance of the criminal justice system” and that its monthly meetings “shall be open to the public.”

The Maryland Attorney General’s Office says the council doesn’t meet the definition of a public body, and, as such, doesn’t technically have to open its meetings. But if Mr. Hogan truly wants to find solutions to the city’s crime problems, he shouldn’t be looking for legal loopholes to slither through; he should be inviting as many minds to weigh in as possible, including yours.

What the city needs now is everyone working together, and that includes the police commissioner and state’s attorney. Commissioner Kevin Davis and top prosecutor Marilyn Mosby made a point of presenting a united front on crime in a joint interview with The Sun’s Justin Fenton earlier this month, but within a week they had resorted to holding dueling press conferences to criticize the actions of the other’s agency.

We recognize that we’re heading into an election year, and grandstanding is inevitable from those whose seats are up for grabs, which includes Mr. Hogan and Ms. Mosby. But there’s more at stake here than political careers. Actual lives are being lost at an alarming rate. Nothing left unsaid by judges on that subject — or uttered behind closed doors — has produced results thus far. Time for something else.

That’s frank and honest.

Read more >>> Unmasking Prince George’s County Corruption and other violations Part II

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A youth rides a bicycle while wearing a gas mask in front of a line of police as protests continued in front of a burning CVS drug store, during clashes in Baltimore, Maryland April 27, 2015. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency and activated the National guard then. Crime has since gone up in the city since then. Freddie Gray died 19 April from a spinal injury sustained while in police custody.

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Maryland Judges say they won’t meet with Hogan about Baltimore crime

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Judges who preside over criminal cases in Baltimore say they won’t attend a meeting that Gov. Larry Hogan (shown here in this picture) has called about the city’s record violence.

In a positive note in Maryland, Governor Larry Hogan has called on State Judges to attend a meeting to discuss high crime in Baltimore City. The city has experienced a record violence never seen before in recent times. There has been 224 dead so far this year. Violent crime is up 15 percent year over year. 

The refusal for Judges to attend has been widely condemned as unacceptable in many areas in Maryland. In recent times, Baltimore city Judges awarded several lawyers who engaged in an organized schemes in Maryland and elsewhere by dismissing cases brought against corrupt lawyers in Maryland and elsewhere which is an ongoing issue in the state. What the Judges do not seem to g is that, crime in Baltimore city has major ties to other parts of the state such as Prince George’s County, Montgomery county and elsewhere. We will be publishing the latest on appeals here in this blog. So stay tuned. Once again the Governor seem to have heard our cries over the years. Public corruption in Maryland is destroying schools and families in Maryland. Baltimore Sun Reports:

Via Baltimore Sun

Judges who preside over criminal cases in Baltimore say they won’t attend a meeting that Gov. Larry Hogan has called about the city’s record violence — a refusal the governor promptly criticized as “unacceptable.”

“It would be disappointing, and frankly, unacceptable for these judicial members … to refuse to participate at what is a critically important moment for Baltimore City,” Hogan wrote to Maryland’s chief judge on Thursday.

Earlier this month, Hogan called for a meeting with city officials who work in criminal justice — including judges, prosecutors and politicians — to have a “frank and honest discussion” about what can be done to address the “tragic and disturbing violence being experienced in Baltimore City.”

Hogan said he was concerned that 60 percent of gun offenders convicted in Baltimore have more than half their sentences suspended — a frequent complaint expressed by police.

“I’m going to ask the judges directly, ‘What does it take to get these repeat violent offenders off the streets?’ ” the Republican governor said.

Baltimore is facing its highest homicide rate on record , with more than 224 dead so far this year. Violent crime is up 15 percent year over year.

The meeting Hogan sought with members of the Baltimore City Criminal Justice Coordinating Council is set to take place at 11:30 a.m. Aug. 29 at the governor’s Baltimore office at 6 St. Paul St.

But in a letter to the governor released Thursday, Maryland Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera told the governor that three Baltimore judges who sit on the council — Circuit Judges W. Michel Pierson and Charles Peters and District Judge Barbara Baer Waxman — would not attend next week’s meeting.

“I would have preferred to speak with you in person about the limitations imposed by ethical constrains on members of the judiciary, hence my telephone call to you last Friday,” Barbera wrote. “As we have not had the opportunity to speak and in light of the rapid pace of developments in Baltimore City, I must respond to your invitation of behalf of the members of the judiciary who sit on the Baltimore City Criminal Justice Coordinating Council.”

Barbera then cited a Maryland rule that governs how judges must behave: “[a] judge shall not be swayed by public clamor or fear of criticism.”

“Given such limitations, participation by members of the judicial branch in the meeting you are hosting on August 29 would be inappropriate,” she said.

Hogan responded by noting that the judges sit on the council and have attended its meetings in the past.

Members of the coordinating council include representatives of the mayor’s office, the Baltimore Circuit Court and the City Council, as well as prison officials, prosecutors and police. The city State’s Attorney will attend the meeting, her spokeswoman said.

The governor also is a member but often sends a representative.

“The judges’ decision to not attend this Council meeting on which they serve is unfortunate and misguided,” the governor wrote. “Why would these members of the Council representing the court system refuse to attend? My hope is that you will reverse this regrettable decision and encourage the judges to attend and participate in the meeting.”

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh said she, too, would like to hear from judges directly about their views on sentencing gun offenders.

“My understanding is they’re suspending sentences,” she said. “I think there needs to be a discussion with the judges about the amount of gun offenders who get suspended sentences in Baltimore City.”

But lawyer Andrew I. Alperstein, a former Baltimore prosecutor who is now in private practice, said it’s critical that judges maintain their independence from the political branches of government.

“The judges are not political, and it’s critical that they be perceived as apolitical,” he said.

Another issue is whether the governor’s meeting will be open to the public. The council meets monthly, and its meetings typically are open.

Hogan, however, plans to close the meeting to the public and news media, according to his spokeswoman Amelia Chasse, in order to facilitate a “frank, open and very serious discussion about Baltimore violent crime, including high-level security and judicial issues.”

Maryland law requires public bodies to allow people to observe their discussions when a quorum of that body is discussing the public’s business. But, according to the Maryland attorney general’s office, the Baltimore City Criminal Justice Coordinating Council does not fall under the definition of a public body.

However, a memorandum of understanding that created the council says its meetings “shall be open to the public.”

While the governor can facilitate discussion, he does not have authority over most of the people expected to attend the meeting.

Read more >>>Unmasking Prince George’s County Corruption and other violations Part III 

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A protestor on a bicycle thrusts his fist in the air next to a line of police, in front of a burning CVS drug store, during clashes in Baltimore, Maryland April 27, 2015. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency and activated the National guard then. Crime has since gone up in the city since then.

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BOE Member Sonya Williams In major water as Arun Puracken joins the 2018 race as people’s choice – District 9

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We finally have a Teacher Running for Board of Education. This is the way to go Mr. Arun Puracken. Education matters and it is the key to life. It should matter now more than ever.

Mr. Arun Puracken school board campaign launch was more lit than some delegate, Senate, and Council campaign launches. There is lots of love and support from the community and the board members themselves starting with Mr. Edward Burroughs III, Mr. David Murray and Ms. Raaheela Ahmed our “rebellious, fearless leaders”.

we encourage more teachers and others to step up to run for various political offices and lead the way forward in Maryland. This is one way to shake up the state and the county Leadership in order to make a difference in the future.

Nominate a Leader to be Featured in Education Matters

Do you know a leader in your community supporting our schools and making a difference in the lives of children both in and out of school? We are seeking nominations for individuals to be highlighted in our Leadership Spotlight segment. Nominees could be principals, superintendents, teachers, teacher assistants, guidance counselors, parents, students, business leaders, community volunteers, afterschool providers, and more.

Here are Some pictures from Mr. Arun Puracken Friday December 8th, 2017 event.

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Hogan wants school leaders to explain their budget requests in Person

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Gov. Larry Hogan says he plans to summon local school systems’ leaders to Annapolis in October to explain their requests for construction money.

In a positive note in Maryland, Governor Larry Hogan plans to create accountability and transparency by summoning local school systems leaders to Annapolis in October to explain their request due to rampant corruption in the local school districts. At least the Governor seem to have heard our cries over the years. Public corruption in Maryland is destroying schools and families in Maryland. Baltimore Sun Reports:

via Baltimore Sun

Gov. Larry Hogan said Wednesday that he plans to summon local school systems to Annapolis in October to explain their requests for construction money — a significant change from the way the money has been awarded in the past.

Hogan said this “much-needed change” is an adjustment that will improve transparency and help top officials get a handle on school funding requests earlier in the process. But some worried that the move would increase the politicization of the process instead.

In the current process, school systems send their requests for construction money to an independent panel, the Interagency Committee on School Construction, in October.

That committee reviews the requests and makes recommendations on which projects should be funded. After the first of the year, the Board of Public Works hears from school systems that want to appeal the decisions and ask for more money or additional projects to be funded.

“The Board of Public Works, which has the final authority on the state school construction funding, doesn’t even see the requests until January, after the fact. And that makes no sense whatsoever,” Hogan said.

Hogan’s move brings the school systems to the Board of Public Works at a much earlier stage.

“It is unacceptable that the chief fiscal officers of the state who are in charge of this authority and responsibility do not have any opportunity to evaluate school construction requests prior to the submission of the school construction budget,” he said.

Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp, a Democrat who sits on the Board of Public Works with Hogan, cautioned that the funding process for school construction needs to remain “as nonpolitical as possible.” However, she said, greater transparency is “always welcome.”

“I couldn’t be happier about the change,” said Franchot, a Democrat who often aligns himself with Hogan, a Republican.

Funding for school construction has become a heated topic in Maryland in recent years, pitting the Democrat-led General Assembly against Hogan, a Republican.

The legislature tried to end the appeals process at the Board of Public Works, often referred to as a “begathon.” Lawmakers previously put language in the state’s budget in an attempt to halt the begathon, but Hogan has relied on an opinion from the board’s counsel saying that the board could continue to ask for information from school superintendents.

Hogan and Franchot have used the meetings before the Board of Public Works to grill school officials about their projects. They’ve criticized Baltimore City and Baltimore County school leaders for what they say is their slow pace in installing air conditioning in school buildings.

State Sen. Bill Ferguson said he worries that Hogan’s move could undercut the Interagency Committee on School Construction’s nonpartisan analysis of school construction needs. A member of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee, Ferguson has been outspoken on education issues.

“I’m very concerned that the Board of Public Works may be pulling an election-year stunt around school construction funding in a way that potentially could disrespect the deep facility needs we have for our public schools across the state,” the Baltimore Democrat said. “I hope I’m wrong.”

Sen. Richard Madaleno, vice chairman of the Budget and Taxation Committee, said the governor is meddling in a process that, while not perfect, has served taxpayers well.

“He is micromanaging so many aspects of education. He’s already taken over the calendar, now he wants to take over the design of every school building,” said Madaleno, a Montgomery County Democrat who is running for governor.

Robert A. Gorrell, the executive director of the Interagency Committee on School Construction, told the governor he would notify school superintendents to attend the Oct. 18 Board of Public Works meeting.

“We’ll organize them to bring their requests,” he said.

Gorrell replaced longtime IAC director David Lever, who quit last year after he said the school funding process was becoming too politicized.

Read more >>> Maryland delegate Dereck E. Davis must resign over corruption in the county schools. 

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