The Prince George's County Council yesterday allowed the appointment of Charles A. Dukes Jr. as chairman of the Maryland-National Park and Planning Commission to stand.
Dukes recently was appointed to the commission that oversees land-use planning in Prince George's County by Prince George's County Executive Lawrence Hogan Sr. The appointment came after Hogan had failed to reappoint incumbent John Burcham to the $21,200-a-year, part-time job.
Ann Lombardi and Sue Mills, the only two council members who voted against Dukes' confirmation, argued that Burcham, whose term expired June 15, was not reappointed because he endorsed Bowie Mayor Audrey Scott rather than Hogan's son in the 5th District Republican congressional primary last spring.
"I thought the nomination of Mr. Dukes was a paddle used to give a political spanking to Mr. Burcham by Mr. Hogan," said Mills, "and I refuse to be a partner in a political spanking, because I've been the victim of one myself. The issue is not whether or not you support Mr. Dukes, but whether or not you want to punish Mr. Burcham."
"It really doesn't matter," said Hogan Sr."He's confirmed anyway."
By a vote of 4 to 2, with one abstention and four members absent, the 46-year-old Dukes failed to obtain the required majority for his confirmation, that normally would have taken place immediately following his appearance before the 11-member council.
Under council rules, however, Dukes automatically became chairman at midnight yesterday because a six-member majority did not reject his appointment, said council chairman Parris Glendening.
"I appreciate the vote of confidence, Mr. Chairman," said Dukes.
He is senior partner in the Prince George's law firm of Dukes and Kooken, as well as chairman of the boards of directors of John Hanson Savings and Loan and the Jefferson Bank and Trust Company.