So January 25th was the annual Beg-a-thon in Annapolis, where the superintendent and relevant personnel from every county and Baltimore City are called before the Board of Public Works to explain their needs and plead their case for their requested money.
CEO Maxwell was a no-show this year, opting instead to send the school system’s chief operating officer. When asked where Maxwell was, the man stammered something about a council meeting scheduled for this morning, but then said that it had been cancelled. He clearly had no idea where Maxwell was, and why he wasn’t there. The Council meeting in question was scheduled for 1030am, opposite the Beg-a-thon, which started at 10am. But the council meeting was rescheduled, and the emails sent out show the change in date and time was sent by 845am. So with his schedule now cleared, why didn’t CEO Maxwell attend the Beg-a-thon, where PGCPS was asking for an additional $90 million dollars ABOVE the already fully funded school budget? Where was he?
Understandably, Governor Hogan and Comptroller Peter Franchot were a little upset at the disrespect shown the Board of Public Works by CEO Maxwell. After hearing the weak excuses and confusion about CEO Maxwell’s whereabouts, Comptroller Franchot asked, “So nobody knows where he is?” Governor Hogan pointed out that PGCPS gets more money from the state than any other county or city, so this 90 million the COO was sent to beg for is ABOVE the already largest pile of money handed to any jurisdiction. As Governor Hogan said,
“Prince George’s County received the most money of any jurisdiction in the entire state, and they were fully funded again this year. You’re asking for $90 million dollars from us today. The fact that the County Executive, Superintendent, and none of the Council members, nobody felt it was important to show up is discouraging. You might want to pass that on to them when you get back. Next time they want to ask us for $90 Million dollars, they might want to come address us themselves.”
Governor Hogan went on to say that complaints of lack of education funding from County Executive Baker were “insulting,” because PGCPS is fully funded by the state per the formulas set forth by the legislature, and would be fully funded once again this year. He also said he was tempted to withhold the funds from Prince George’s County until the Superintendent or any of the other top elected officials in the county came to talk to the Board in person, but he would not do that because it wouldn’t be fair to the students and hard working staff.
I don’t know where CEO Maxwell was, but I know where County Executive Rushern Baker, several members of the PG County Council and even a few School Board Members were. No, none of them were at the beg-a-thon to impress the Governor and BPW with the need for the extra $90 million. Nope. They were all across town, in Annapolis, holding a press conference complaining about Anne Arundel Hospital getting a cardiac unit that might be in competition with the one at Prince George’s Hospital, as well as complaining that Governor’s budget was again shorting Dimensions Healthcare some funds. The governor’s spokesperson has responded to accusation by saying that the Prince George’s County Hospital was giving exactly what UMMS – who is now in charge of the building – said it needed, nothing more, and nothing less. CE Baker has said he won’t announce until after the legislative session whether or not he’s running for governor, but his grandstanding here lends all kinds of credence to long-standing rumors that he wants the Governor’s mansion next.
The video from the meeting can be found on BPW website. The PGCPS official appears before the board at the 2:01:23 mark of the third video from the January 25, 2017 meeting. The time given for the start of that lives stream video is 1:30 pm, so the PGCPS official made his appearance sometime around 3:30 in the afternoon. That means that even if the Council meeting had proceeded as planned, CEO Maxwell would have had plenty of time to get to Annapolis.
So where was CEO Maxwell?