The man who says he was responsible for getting Prince George's County Councilwoman Darlene Z. White to run for office has called for her resignation because of what he called her poor attendance at council meetings.
Gilbert Nielsen of District Heights, who served as White's campaign treasurer in 1974, said he feels "the public is being hurst by her lack of attendance [at the meetings]."
Nielsen said he was particularly disturbed that White had attended just one of about 30 work sessions the council held this month and last month to consider the budget proposals of county agencies.
White said yesterday that Nielsen had not informed her of his feelings and called Nielsen's comments "sour grapes," claiming that she had recently investigated a constituent complaint against Nielsen, a District Heights developer.
The 43-year-old councilwoman said she had missed the budget work sessions, numerous zoning hearings, public hearings and legislative sessions because she has been suffering from what she called "female problems" since last November. The problems, she said, have been "corrected" and she said she plans to begin again attending meeting regularly.
White, who was elected on the 1974 "Blue Ribon" slate of 10 Democratic candidates that included County Executive Winfield M. Kelly Jr., said last week she would not seek re-election to the council. She said at the time that she would run for another office, which she refused to specify.
Mrs. White declared emphatically yesterday that "I'm not resigning" and said she is rethinking her decision not to seek reelection to the Council "because they [council members] have aggravated me." Some members have been critical of her lack of attendance at council work sessions.
White's efforts to help Dr. Francis P. Chiaramonte build his Southern Maryland Hospital Center in Clinton have further strained her relationship with other council members and the county executive, whom she has accused of deliberately hindering Chiaramonte's efforts to complete the hospital.
In a showdown last March, the Council asked White to step down from her position on the Southern Maryland Health Systems Agency because it was feared "she was too wrapped up in one hospital to be sitting on a body responsible for all hospital planning" in Southern Maryland, according to Councilman Parris Glendening.
Glendening said he has watched White turn from an "enthusiastic, capable" worker who "carried more than her burden of work," to a council member with what she called an "I-don't-give-a-damn-anymore" attitude."
While attending a council session last Tuesday briefly, Glendening said, but was not there when the Council debated the construction of a shopping center at Rte. 4 and Rte. 301, which lies in the Fourth District, an area which White represents.
Glendening also complained that White's yes vote helped get the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission budget approved, although White had not attended any of the work sessions on that budget.
Councilman Sam Bogley said that White had attended only the budget work session for licenses and permits department and had defended the department's budget. "The way she participated at that session couldn't be explained other than she was there to protect" the department, Bogley said, a move he claimed could aid Chairamonte, who still needs a use and occupancy permit from the department to open his hospital.
White said that her legislative aide Pat Henckins attended all the budget session in her stead while White was recovering "at home with my feet raised." Henckins asked the questions that she - White - would have asked had she been there she said.
White defended her record as a council member, stating she had responded personally to numerous constituent complaints and has made Prince George's County schools one of her major areas of interest.