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Maryland Politics
Posted at 12:27 PM ET, 03/14/2011

Baker taps new economic development team, outlines budget plan to aid schools, public safety and job growth

Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker named a new economic development team Monday as he outlined details of his $2.63 budget plan that gives a $50 million boost to bring new business to the county.

Baker, in a briefing to the County Council, named Carla Reid, former head of Montgomery County’s permitting department; David Iannucci, former economic development chief for Gov. Parris N. Glendening; and Aubrey Thagard from the D.C. government to round out the team. Economic development corporation chief Kwasi Holman, a holdover from the previous administration, is being replaced, at least temporarily, by Gwen McCall, who was in the District government to head the team. The $50 million economic development fund, which dwarfs that of most other area jurisdictions, will include a revolving loan fund, grants, incentive packages and other efforts to lure more businesses and jobs to the county.

By comparison, Montgomery County budgets slightly less than $1 million for its fund.

Baker also named Eric C. Brown, former head of the Annapolis Housing Authority, to take over the troubled Prince George’s housing agency, a target of federal investigators looking into federal corruption allegations against Baker’s predecessor, Jack B. Johnson.

Baker’s budget plan proposes modest increases for schools and public safety, but the overall budget is “a return to 2008,” said his budget chief, Tom Himler.

“We are making a big investment,” Baker told the council. “We ramped it up. I don’t think anyone else in the region will be able to match us on that.”

Baker also added money for libraries and a new police station in the southern part of the county. He cut his office’s budget by about 5 percent, and reduced the county’s 6,000-person work force by about 145 jobs, all currently vacant. Employees will continue a wage and cost-of-living freeze that was in effect.

By  |  12:27 PM ET, 03/14/2011

 
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