The all-Democratic Prince George's County Council dealt another blow to Republican County Executive Lawrence J. Hogan yesterday by overriding two of his vetoes of council budget decisions.
At the same time, the council backed down, at least temporarily, from an expected vote to reject Hogan's nominee to the influential county Park and Planning Commission. An unprecendented outpouring of support for the nominee developed among independent Democrats, whose support Hogan has been trying to cultivate.
Both decisions indicated that the rift between the council and Hogan shows no sign of dissipating, while divisions between Democratic Party loyalists and the so-called independent Democrats -- a group unaligned with the party's dominant Democratic politicians -- seem to be growing, with Hogan apparently able to use that to his political advantage.
The 10-to-1 vote by the council to override Hogan's vetoes of their previously approved 1981 parks and county operating budgets occurred without much comment and was in marked contrast to the council's consideration of Hogan's nominees for a planning commission post, former state senator William Goodman (D).
Council members said that in overriding Hogan's vetoes they were convinced that the budgets they approved were best for the county without adding new service charges that Hogan had requested. Hogan said he vetoed the budgets because he felt the school system had been given too much money and because of some cuts the council made in the police and fire departments.
A Prince George's executive had never before vetoed a budget, and council members criticized Hogan for what they called his inability to develop a "consensus atmosphere" in the county government.
Later, with nearly a dozen of their fellow Democrats seated in the audience for a public hearing on Goodman's nomination, the council accused Hogan of trying to split the Democratic Party in preparation for a Republican effort in the 1982 county elections.
Hogan is the county's only elected Republican and has frequently said that if he runs for reelection in 1982 he hopes to bring into the council some Republicans or Democrats more sympathetic to his political philosophy.
Most of the elected officials at yesterday's hearing who spoke in favor of Goodman ran for office in 1978 against candidates backed by the Democratic Party leaders, who during that election fielded a county-wide slate.
Like his supporters, Goodman, the coauthor of the county's tax-limiting TRIM law, has frequently been at odds with the party leadership and that factor emerged as a major issue in yesterday's hearing.
"Hogan sent Goodman down here to be turned down," said council member Gerard McDonough. "He was sent down here for political reasons and that was to antagonize [the independent Democrats]. He's using the appointment process as glue to consolidate the dissidents into one unit to coopt them in the 1982 election."
Before voting to delay a vote on the Goodman nomination for one week, several council members also criticized Hogan for failing to consult them on major appointments that affect county policymaking and expressed disagreement with Goodman's philosophy of limited growth in the county.
Hogan yesterday repeated his frequent accusation that the council, if it rejected Goodman, would be "pandering to special interests and the developers."