The era of harmony and consensus that marked the one-year tenure of Prince George's County Council Chairwoman Hilda R. Pemberton came to an abrupt end yesterday amid accusations of sexism, racism, back room deals and political incompetence as the nine-member council elected new leaders.

After a bitter discussion in which the majority was accused of ignoring the political aspirations of blacks and women, the council split 5 to 4 along racial and sexual lines and confirmed 13-year veteran Frank P. Casula as chairman and two-term member Anthony Cicoria as vice chairman.

Voting to give Casula a one-year term as chairman were the five white men on the council: Casula, Cicoria, James M. Herl, Richard J. Castaldi and F. Kirwan Wineland. Supporting an alternative motion to elect second-term council member Jo Ann T. Bell as chairman were Bell, Pemberton, Sue V. Mills and Floyd E. Wilson, the only black man on the council. A move to elect Bell vice chairman also failed 5 to 4.

"Obviously, all the peace and love is over with now," Wilson said after the vote. "It's an all-out battle. For the life of me, I can't see how we can face this world, with this constituency, and do what you are going to do."

After the meeting adjourned, Mills said: "If you are a Caucasian male, you get five votes. That's the most bitter message sent today."

Casula said that racism and sexism were not involved in the chairmanship election, calling the 5-to-4 vote a result of normal politics. "It happens in Annapolis; it happens in Congress," he said.

Cicoria called the losing side's response "sour grapes."

Others said that yesterday's outcome was a result of raw politics: Casula's slate was more organized and won. Further, Bell was viewed as too emotional and lacked the leadership needed to be an effective chairman, some council members said.

"Jo Ann Bell made a political error by raising nonissues, and that's another example of a lack of leadership," said Herl, who as late as last week tried to put together a deal in which Bell would be elected chairman in 1989. But he ended his efforts when charges of sexism surfaced. "They thought they had the five votes and they were wrong."

"It's easier to charge those kinds of things {racism and sexism} than to say, 'Shoot! I'm no good.' Or, 'I couldn't get the votes together,' " said Council Administrator Samuel E. Wynkoop Jr., the council's chief staff member.

The post is largely ceremonial, but at times it has been used by a strong chairman to galvanize support around a political agenda. As a council member, Parris Glendening won an unprecedented second term as chairman in 1981 and used the post to build the support that elevated him to county executive.

Pemberton, who became the first woman and the second black to be council chairman, is widely credited with melding the usually rancorous council into a cohesive force that passed sensitive legislation, including a moratorium on new gambling establishments, a new minority contracting program and expansion of a Bowie area landfill.

But yesterday was like old times with sniping and threats of political reprisals, and it was reminiscent of the 1985 chairman election in which Pemberton lost to William Amonett. Then, too, the women on the council cried sexism.