The following were among actions taken at Tuesday's meeting of the Prince George's County Council. For more information, call 952-5182.
APPOINTMENT POSTPONED -- The council voted 7 to 2 to postpone the reappointment of Robert M. Potter to the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission. Council members Frank P. Casula and Richard J. Castaldi dissented.
The delay was called a victory in the black community, which is pushing county officials to increase minority contracts with the utility company. After an hour of heated testimony by two state senators, members of the county chapter of the NAACP, black businesspeople and concerned citizens, the council decided to postpone discussions of the reappointment until July 21, members said, to give several black civic and political time to meet with Potter and further air their grievances.
The speakers charged at the meeting that Potter failed to increase the one-person staff of the Minority Business Enterprise Office, did not increase the number of contract awarded to minorities and did not institute an affirmative action plan to place more minorities, women and the handicapped people into management positions.
Potter denied the accusations and said he is committed to the MBEO. He said he was awaiting approval from the council for him to expand the office's staff.
The sanitary commission met its goal to award 25 percent of its procurement contracts to minority or women-owned firms in the fiscal year that ended in June, commission figures show. The council also postponed the reappointment of former Seat Pleasant Mayor Henry Arrington to the WSSC. County executive Parris Glendening who expressed concern about Arrington's background said if Potter is not confirmed, he would withdraw Arrington's name as well.
PROGRAMS FOR AGING -- The council voted unanimously to spend private and federal funds for two senior citizens programs established last year and offered free to senior county residents.
The money from the federal government and a private Prince George's Countycompany will be used to expand a recreation program and job training service administered by the county Department of Aging.
The programs are: the Older American Service Information System (OASIS), a recreational program sponsored by the May Co. that offers dance, drama quilting and other activities to senior citizens; and the Job Training Act Home Repair Program (JTPA), a program that trains senior citizens to make simple home repairs.
Nearly 1,600 of the county's 69,000 senior citizens currently participate in the programs. About half the county's senior citizens have low incomes and about a quarter live below the poverty level and cannot afford such programs on their own, said Sue Ward, director of the department of aging.
OASIS, which is located in the Hecht's department store (a May subsidiary) at Prince George's Plaza, is one of 26 such programs in the nation. It was opened last June with a $12,000 grant from the May Co., $20,000 from the county and $5,000 from Health Plus, a health maintenance organization. The May Co. plans to give another $3,000 to OASIS to enhance activity programs this year.
The center is open every day.
The job-training program will get $2,729. It already received a $16,500 start-up grant from the U.S. Department of Labor six months ago.
"It's the nickel and dime stuff that drives the elders crazy," Ward said of the program. Many elderly people own homes but do not have the money for expensive carpentry, housepainting and repair, he said. The program will teach about 30 people a year how to fix doors and locks and how to paint their homes. The training is provided by United Communities Against Poverty, a private, nonprofit social service agency in Beaver Heights, north of Sheriff Road near the District line.