Tag Archives: County Executive Rushern L. Baker III

Maxwell hires former Baker aide and creates yet another Blunder.

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Prince George’s County Schools Chief Kevin M. Maxwell has hired Christian Rhodes, the education adviser to County Executive Rushern L. Baker III, to join his executive team.

Rhodes will become the executive board liaison and strategic partners officer.

Rhodes was a union official before he joined Baker’s staff almost two years ago. He previously served as a political organizer for the Maryland State Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union.

As Baker’s education adviser, Rhodes was tasked with improving coordination among various branches of county government, including the formulation of the school budget, pursuit of educational innovation and reform and advocacy on both a state and national level, all roles traditionally held by the school board.

He described his new duties as an extension of his old ones.

He will help to build a collaborative relationship between the school system and it’s partners, including the county executive, the County Council, county agencies, nonprofits, businesses, foundations and “essentially anyone who is engaged in the work of improving the school system.”

Rhodes, who went to school to become a teacher, said the decision to move from the county administration building to school headquarters was both personal and professional.

“I’ve been involved in the politics of education, but one of my goals was to understand the work better,” he said. “I really wanted to be closer to the work and to be able to influence the work from that perspective.”

Rhodes said it is too soon to discuss projects that he hopes to enhance, but noted that whether it is literacy, ninth-grade promotion or graduation rates, he hopes to be able to lead the school system in partnering with organizations to help it meet its goals.

He is one of several new hires Maxwell has made since he took the helm of the school system 15 months ago. Many of the positions, like Rhodes’s, are newly-created. Rhode’s salary is $138,278. >>Read more >> Source Washington Post.
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OPINION

A fearless and effective watchdog is critical in fledgling democracies like in Prince George’s where institutions are weak and pummelled by political pressure. When legislatures, judiciaries and other oversight bodies are powerless against the mighty or are themselves corruptible, the media are often left as the only check against the abuse of power. This requires that they play a heroic role, exposing the excesses of presidents, prime ministers, legislators, county Executives, CEO’s and magistrates despite the risks.

The media also serve as a conduit between governors and the governed and as an arena for public debate that leads to more intelligent policy and decision-making.

In the above scenario involving Mr. Rhodes, the appointment clearly creates a conflict of interest on multiple fronts and will lead to many problems in the future.

  1. Mr. Rhodes served as Election Manager for Verjeana Jacobs (disgraced former Board chair).
  2. Mr. Rhodes Previously worked for Maryland State Education Association and Prince George’s County Educator Association which is involved in breach of contracts and advancement of misconduct within the Maryland school system.
  3. Both Mr. Rhodes and Dr. Eugene Banks (current BOE chair) are tied to National Educator Association (NEA). Any teacher expecting help from both or the teacher union in case of trouble, Good luck with that!
  4. Mr. Rhodes is an extension of Mr. Rushern Baker within the school system which in turn polarizes the county school system.
  5. Mr. Rhodes and Mr.George H. Margolies are duplicating duties at high salaries. Mr. Margolies makes over $200,000 and Mr. Rhodes will be making $138,278
  6. High salaries in the midst of crisis when we demanded many reforms at Sasscer administrative Building for such is unacceptable!
  7. High number of homeless students who have nothing to eat when the well connected friends and family in the Baker led administration is “eating big” is unwelcome recipe in the middle of a recession. The students are not doing so well academically.

It’s time to demand answers and stop the eating at Sasscer!

Contact your legislator today and the media say “NO”.  It’s time to Stop the blame and Fix the Real Problems in the county.

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Both sides make their case on Pr. George’s term limits.

…  Vote “NO” on Question J.

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Mr. Baker. >>> Read more >>>Major scandal unfolding in PGCPS.  >>>  Rot at Upper Marlboro.

October 24

During the only public forum on Question J — the ballot question that would allow Prince George’s officials to serve three terms instead of two — the measure’s strongest proponent was absent.In his place, County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) sent an attorney to square off against opponents of loosening term limits.While those close to Baker know how much he dislikes the term-limit law, Baker has refused to campaign for the ballot initiative — unwilling to attach his name to an effort that would benefit him personally and has failed twice in the past 20 years.Just over a week before the general election, there are no yard signs, robo-calls or e-mails to voters in favor of the referendum from Baker or any of the County Council members who stand to benefit from it.

Baker — who is running unopposed for a second term and will be forced to leave office after that if the ballot initiative fails — is relying on the “yes” vote recommended on the sample ballot distributed by the county’s powerful Democratic party central committee.

Meanwhile, activists who want to keep the stricter limits in place are exhorting the electorate to vote “no” through community e-mail discussion groups, public meetings and on the Internet.

“I think people understand where I stand on term limits,” Baker said. “There are term limits, and they are called ‘the voters.’ ”

Baker said proponents of term limits assume voters are not mature enough to make the right selections and argued that forcing politicians out after two terms destroys institutional knowledge and governing momentum.

“This is the most popular council in 30 years with constituents,” Baker said. “People like what they see.”

Opponents of the term-limit extension fear political entrenchment and say the ballot referendum is premature, coming just four years after the federal corruption investigation that toppled Baker’s predecessor, Jack Johnson.

Not one Prince George’s County incumbent has been defeated in the two decades since Judy Robinson and her group collected the 18,000 signatures that instituted term limits in 1992.

Gerron Levi, a former state delegate who lost to sitting council incumbent Derrick Leon Davis (D-Mitchellville) in the primary, said the political system can have a corrupting influence on any long-serving elected official. “The longer you are in office, the longer you are captive to moneyed interests, because that’s how you get reelected,” Levi said.

Prince George’s is the only local government in the region to limit how long its local officials can serve (although the Virginia governor can remain in office only four years and the Maryland governor is limited to eight).

County officials say that means more turnover for Prince George’s County than for its neighbors on regional boards that oversee topics such as water, transportation and planning.

“We are constantly being outmaneuvered by Northern Virginia, where that long tenure exists,” said M.H. Jim Estepp, a former county council chair. “There was a lot more I could’ve done for my constituency if I had more time.”

Baker said his vision for the county will take more than two terms to achieve. It took four years to “get used to the job” and craft the details of his agenda, he said, and he doesn’t expect his marquee education revisions and economic development plans to fully take effect until 2015.

>>> Read more Washington Post.

>>> Read more Vote against longer term limits, fewer papers of record in Prince George’s.

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Baltimore Sun was right.

When they said no to Prince George’s schools takeover

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Our view: Handing over authority for Prince George’s County schools to county executive would set a regrettable precedent for Maryland

With its financial woes, low test scores, frequent leadership turnover and underperforming schools, Prince George’s County‘s school system is failing its approximately 125,000 students, and its elected school board appears highly dysfunctional. Under these dire circumstances, it’s not surprising that County Executive Rushern L. Baker III wants to intervene.

But what Mr. Baker seeks — direct control over the district’s day-to-day operations and authority over its next superintendent — would be unprecedented in Maryland. The carefully constructed wall between public K-12 education and electoral politics would be torn down with potentially troubling, precedent-setting consequences for the state’s other school systems.

Making matters worse, the county executive wants the General Assembly to authorize this historic shift of local authority in a matter of two weeks. That unreasonable timetable alone (authorizing legislation was submitted Monday, and the legislature’s 90-day session ends April 8) should cause lawmakers to summarily reject it.

Mr. Baker and his allies have portrayed the bill as a local issue pertaining only to Prince George’s County. But it’s hard to believe that no matter how unique the circumstances of the state’s second-largest school system, other county executives won’t be watching anxiously to see if they may be able to seek similar authority.

After all, rare is the county executive who has not wanted to assert his or her will over the local school system. County governments (and Baltimore City’s) must finance school systems but have limited opportunities to tell them how to spend that money or even hold those systems accountable. The arrangement is the bane of most every top elected official’s existence…….

…….What’s a little scary is that Mr. Baker actually wants even more authority than the legislation pending in Annapolis would give him. He would like to have control over the budget, too, and leave the school board with a substantially smaller role. He has called making the superintendent a part of his staff (albeit one confirmed by the county council) a “nonnegotiable” position.

Read more: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/editorial/bs-ed-pg-schools-20130327,0,4154155.story#ixzz31BlOOamp

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Read More >>>Major Corruption underway in PGCPS.