Prince George's Youth Commission's director charges council member with assault

By Mike DeBonis
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, November 29, 2010; 11:05 PM

The director of the Prince George's County Council's Youth Commission has filed charges against council member Marilynn M. Bland, saying she assaulted him earlier this month.

W. Randy Short, who filed a charge in District Court on Sunday, said the alleged assault happened Nov. 17 at the County Administration Building in Upper Marlboro shortly after he convened a meeting of the commission to install new members.

Bland (D-Clinton) is set to be installed as clerk of the court on Wednesday. Bland's council office did not return calls or an e-mail seeking comment.

In an interview Monday, Short said he was hired by Bland in May to head the office, which was created in 2006 through a bill sponsored by Bland and serves to "foster increased youth involvement in the affairs of county government."

Bland became upset, Short said, because he started the 6:30 p.m. meeting while she was still in her office. "She grabbed me by my collar, screaming, yelling, cursing," Short said. "She was telling me, 'You're crazy,' 'How dare you start a meeting without me?,' 'Who do you think you are?' "

Bland pushed him away after her tirade, Short said.

Later in the evening, he said, Bland verbally abused him again.

"You tell me if that's the kind of way that folks should treat people," Short said.

Short said he waited more than a week to file a charge because he thought he might get an apology, but one never came. "There's no contrite attitude toward it," he said. "I don't want this to happen to anyone else. . . . I don't want to be fired and get a bad reference. So I better have this documented, because if they fire me tomorrow, they'll think I can't do anything."

No court date has been set. The second-degree assault charge carries a penalty of up to 10 years incarceration or a $2,500 fine.

The allegation against Bland is not related to the ongoing federal corruption probe in the county government that led to the arrest of County Executive Jack B. Johnson and his wife, Leslie, who was elected to the County Council earlier this month.

The Johnsons were arrested more than two weeks ago and charged with tampering with evidence and destruction of evidence.

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