The following were among actions taken at Tuesday's meeting of the Prince George's County Council. For more information, call 952-5182.
MINORITY BUSINESS PROCUREMENT -- Council Chairwoman Hilda R. Pemberton introduced a package of legislation designed to boost the number of contracts the county awards to minority firms.
The legislation would:
encourage a voluntary increase in the number of minority contracts awarded.
place a charter amendment on the November 1988 ballot that would allow the county to set aside some future contracts for minority firms.
create a commission, composed of members of black community organizations, such as the Coalition for Black Economic Development, county officials and other residents, to monitor how the county awards minority contracts and to hear complaints about the minority procurement plan.
The council did not vote on any of the legislation, but will hold a public hearing on it on Nov. 17.
Pemberton said the amendment was proposed as a compromise to legislation by member Floyd E. Wilson Jr., who wants the county to set aside a mandatory percentage of contracts for minority firms. Wilson said he would rather see the council approve his legislation, but said he supports Pemberton's proposed amendment because, "my gut feeling is a mandatory set-aside won't fly."
The minority contract issue has received widespread attention in the county's black community since Pemberton and County Executive Parris Glendening unveiled a plan on Sept. 21 that would direct the county to voluntarily award 30 percent of its contracts to minority firms.
Pemberton proposed the new legislation just as members of the county's black community were pressuring the council to require that 30 percent of its contracts be awarded to minority firms.
Glendening spokesman Tim Ayers said the county executive is opposed to the charter amendment and a mandatory set-aside plan because he believes they are unconstitutional and would not survive a court challenge.
Glendening was not at the meeting.
Pemberton said the charter amendment would allow the 30 percent voluntary plan to become effective immediately, but set up a countywide referendum during the 1988 elections to see if voters support a mandatory set-aside plan.
County attorney Larnzell Martin Jr., said the county charter requires that most contracts valued at more than $15,000 be publicly advertised and awarded to the highest bidder. A charter amendment is needed to allow the county to bypass the competitive bidding process and set aside a percentage of contracts for minority firms.
County officials have been criticized for what has been called a lack of progress in awarding contracts to minorities. During the the past fiscal year, 20 percent of the county's contracts went to minorities, up from 12 percent in fiscal 1985.
VICIOUS ANIMAL LAWS -- The council heard legislation proposed by Glendening that would amend the county's laws against vicious dogs to laws against vicious animals and would increase fines for violations.
If approved, the legislation would hold parents and guardians liable for minors whose animals cause damages or injuries.
Glendening, who proposed the legislation Sept. 24 after reviewing records on the increased number of dog attacks in the last year, proposed that fines for residents who violate the law by not containing their animals be increased from $100 to $500 for the first offense and from $500 to $1,000 for subsequent offenses.
Glendening said there have been 12 attacks by dogs on county residents since January. Two of the attacks were by pit bulls.
Glendening said the county's current vicious dog ordinance does not cover dogfighting or cockfighting. And the proposed legislation would give county police or animal control workers the power to impound a vicious animal pending the outcome of a hearing.
County officials said a hearing would determine whether the animal could be returned to its owner or whether it would be killed. Under the proposed legislation, if an animal is returned to its owners, county animal control officials could impose conditions to restrain the animal, such as requiring the owner to use a muzzle on the animal.
Glendening had said that although there has been widespread publicity about attacks by pit bull terriers, he intended for his legislation to include all breeds of animals.
The council will vote on the change at a future meeting.