"Fiduciary responsibility," "accountability" and "stewardship" have parted company long ago from Maryland state and Prince George's County governments. Two events this year have distanced these governing bodies even further from representing citizens.
The first was the recent findings by the Prince George's County grand jury, which brought to light some very unusual transactions between county council members and the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission.
It appears the State's Attorney's office got a bit uneasy and would not allow the grand jury to further its investigation. Sort of reminds me of the time back in 1985-86 when those of us curious about the (still undisclosed) unusual financial goings-on with the then Community Hospital & Health Care Systems, Inc. (now Dimensions Health Corp.) were advised the investigation would go nowhere.
The grand jury findings do point out to the public the lengths the county will go in squashing zoning violation dissenters. In P.G. zoning abusers are coddled, while opponents to illegal land-use (abuse) activities are obstructed, ignored and sometimes just egregiously treated by county elected and appointed officialdom.
The other troublesome event was the Maryland legislature's "deep-sixing" the ethics bill for the county. Surprise, surprise! The choreography was brilliant. All the major players made the right moves. Each came home to his district, told the voters what noble efforts he made to pass an ethics bill; yet it died. What goes on on the floor of the legislature is far removed from what goes on in the smoke-filled back rooms. They had no more interest in introducing and legislating proper ethical behavior for themselves and the county council than I intend to become a Franciscan monk.
Stay tuned. P.G. never changes and never will.
R. DAN RITCHIE Riverdale