The following were among actions taken at Tuesday's meeting of the Prince George's County Council. For more information, call 952-5182.
POLICE REVIEW PANEL -- The County Council, in a 7 to 1 vote, approved a plan to establish a Citizen Complaint Oversight Panel to review complaints of brutality involving police officers.
The panel was created in response to recommendations by the Blue Ribbon Commission on Public Safety, which was set up after the death in May 1989 of a Ghanian citizen during a routine traffic stop by four white officers in the county.
The death of Gregory Habib created an uproar in the community, and County Executive Parris Glendening established the blue ribbon panel to examine charges of racism and brutality in the police force.
The Citizen Complaint Oversight Panel, which will be made up of seven members appointed by Glendening and confirmed by the County Council, will review joint investigative reports compiled by the police Internal Affairs Division and the county's Human Relations Commission.
The council included $200,000 for the new panel in the police department's fiscal 1991 budget.
Richard S. Brown, vice president of the county chapter of the NAACP, called the bill "worthless, powerless and redundant" because it does not include provisions for a citizen to sit on the police panel that investigates brutality complaints. "This is an empty gesture, an insult to the community and they will not buy it," Brown said.
However, council member Sue V. Mills (D-8th District) said that in order to change police policy that restricts the review of police personnel to members of the police department, legislation would have to be enacted at the state level.
COUNCIL REPLACEMENTS -- The council approved, by a 6 to 2 vote, a charter amendment providing for an election if a council seat becomes vacant more than 90 days before a primary or general election. The amendment was spurred by residents' complaints that they are not involved in choosing a replacement for a council member who resigns or dies midterm. A replacement generally is made by the council.
Most recently, the council voted to appoint Anne MacKinnon to take over the 3rd District seat previously held by James Herl, who resigned in May after his conviction on a drug possession charge.
In voting for the measure, Chairwoman Jo Ann Bell said she did not think the appointment process has been "as good as it should have been."
KEEPING PIGEONS -- The council approved legislation dictating health guidelines for keeping trained pigeons in certain areas of the county. Under the new measure, owners of homing and racing pigeons also would have to obtain an annual permit from the county Health Department, at a cost of $50.
SHIFT OF FUNDS -- The council approved two supplementary appropriation measures that would shift nearly $15 million to other parts of the county budget in need of additional funds.
According to council member F. Kirwan Wineland, the money would go to various county agencies to cover the cost of normal government functions that have exceeded financial projections in the current fiscal year. The areas include the county worker's compensation fund, vocational services and leased space at Regina High School, which was required after students at Buck Lodge Middle School and Northwestern High School had to be relocated while their schools were being renovated. In addition, $750,000 of the funds will go to the Drug Enforcement and Education Fund to help offset the soaring cost of anti-drug efforts.
HOUSING PROJECT -- The council adopted a resolution allowing a private developer, SAJ Properties, to construct six rental housing units in the county that will be financed through the Maryland Community Development Administration. County approval was needed because the project included state financing.
Each of the six single-family, four-bedroom units will rent for approximately $920 per month. However, low-income families with Section 8 Tenant Certificates would qualify for housing assistance to reduce that rent.