They've served their eight years. So what's next for the term-limited Prince George's Five, those departing the County Council after two four-year terms?
M.H. Jim Estepp (D-Croom) and Audrey E. Scott (R-Bowie) tried to extend their public service by running for county executive. But Estepp lost the Democratic primary and Scott the general election to State's Attorney Jack B. Johnson.
Estepp already has a new job, but it, too, may be term-limited. A month after Estepp came in second to Johnson in the five-way primary, lame duck Gov. Parris N. Glendening quietly hired him to direct the newly created Maryland Security Council.
The council, established by the General Assembly as the state equivalent of the federal office of homeland security, has a 15-member board appointed by the governor for two-year and three-year terms. Its statehouse-based staff consists so far of Estepp, a secretary and an administrative aide.
In a former life, Estepp was Prince George's fire chief and public safety director under then-Prince George's County Executive Glendening.
Raquel M. Guillory, Glendening's deputy press secretary, said Estepp's "multi-decade experience in law enforcement, security experience and public safety" eminently qualified him for the state post. "Every time there's some kind of alert, Jim is the liaison with the feds and his counterparts in other states."
Estepp, 61, came on board Oct. 17, at an annualized salary of $75,000. His contract expires Jan. 14, the day before Glendening leaves office, but he is hoping the new governor, Republican Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., will keep him on.
"That's a discussion I'll have to have with him or his transition team," Estepp said. "They talk about having an open and diverse administration. Clearly, I'm open to doing that."
Meanwhile, in his new if impermanent job, Estepp faces a Dec. 1 deadline to deliver to Glendening the council's first annual report on state emergency preparedness in case of a terrorist attack.
Scott, 66, said she is unwinding before regrouping and reviewing her options. "I'm a lady of leisure," said Scott, who was on Ehrlich's short list for lieutenant governor. "I might go to the state, the feds, or do my own thing. I'm talking to Bobby Ehrlich. I'll do whatever he wants me to do. I'll scrub floors if he wants me to, and I don't even do that at home."
Scott, who pulled 34 percent in losing to Johnson, said she feels "very good" about the election. In Bowie, Laurel and Greenbelt, "places where people know me," she noted, she captured up to 82 percent of the vote. "The lowest I had was 50.7 percent in south Bowie," she said. "I did very well in some other areas but not well enough to counter Jack. He did 80 percent inside the Beltway, and I did 20 percent.
"But we were very satisfied we had a lot of crossover votes. That was very very gratifying for me, that people judged me on who I was and what I'd done for the past 30 years and not on my gender, my registration and not on my race."
Departing council member Dorothy F. Bailey (D-Temple Hills) said she plans "to sit on the porch and have some fun." The fun began even before her departure, however, last Thursday night at La Fontaine Bleu in Lanham, where she was feted by hundreds of well-wishers.
Bailey, 62, said she intends to continue working toward a master's degree in Christian counseling at the Maple Springs Seminary in Capitol Heights. "I'm interested in the whole notion of healing and counseling," she said. "It is a mission that I've been on all of my life."
She also will be busy "co-parenting" her 2-year-old granddaughter with her daughter, a job she said is already "taking up quite a bit of time. It's my responsibility to pick her up from day care . . .
"I'm not closing out any future options," she added, "but right now my goal is to take it easy for a while, get involved in nonprofits and finish school."
At 69 the group's senior statesman, Marvin F. Wilson (D-Glenarden) said he's through with elected politics. This comes after nine years on the County Council -- one year filling the unexpired term of the late James C. Fletcher Jr., plus two terms on his own -- four years as Glenarden's mayor and 21 years on Glenarden's Town Council.
But that doesn't mean he's through serving, he said.
"I would like to maintain some kind of contact with the county," he said. "If offered, I would be able to provide service on a committee or a commission. Anything I can do to enhance the future, I'd like to play a role in that."
In his professional life, Wilson worked for the National Security Agency for 25 years, retiring in 1991 as a cryptanalyst for the government. He grew up in Southeast Washington.
Ronald V. Russell (D-Mitchellville), at 43 the youngest of the five, had briefly considered running for county executive. Now, the former county government budget systems analyst is "packing boxes" and "weighing his options," his legislative aide Nell Johnson said.
Russell said his first priority is to take his wife and two daughters to Disney World. And then? "I can't get into that now. We'll just have to wait and see."
At their last meeting Tuesday, council members paid special tribute to two more who would have been leaving office but died beforehand: Walter H. Maloney (D-Beltsville) and Isaac J. Gourdine (D-Fort Washington). Their successors, chosen in special elections, are Thomas R. Dernoga (D-Laurel) and Tony Knotts (D-Temple Hills).
Curry's Goodbye Gala
County Executive Wayne K. Curry, who also is term-limited, last week took his goodbye tour to a glittering FedEx Field tribute, where developers and lobbyists and a gaggle of politicians toasted the departing county executive.
There was Lt. Gov.-elect Michael Steele of Largo, mingling with Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley. There was National Harbor developer Milton V. Peterson and Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan. And there was former District mayor Marion S. Barry Jr., who stopped for a moment to schmooze with Prince George's County Executive-elect Johnson.
"I'll call you this week," Johnson was overheard telling Barry, before heading to the exit.
The party Friday night was the last in a series of celebrations marking Curry's eight years in office, a reign that ends Dec. 2 when Johnson is sworn in. Tickets to the Fedex Field affair ranged from $100 to $10,000, with the proceeds covering the cost of the party (including a gift of a Rolex watch to Curry) and the remainder going to a charitable foundation in Curry's name.
Those ponying up $10,000 included Comcast Corp. and the Michael Cos., the real estate brokerage whose owner, Ken Michael, is a longtime Curry friend. Peterson and developer Steve Stavrou were among those who bought $5,000 tickets. The guests also included Major F. Riddick Jr., Glendening's former chief of staff, business executive Gary S. Murray, former County Council member Stephen J. Del Giudice, and lobbyist Bruce C. Bereano.
There was an endless variety of foods (including designer pastas and shrimp), music and a fair amount of roasting of Curry and his often outsized persona. Duncan, for example, told the audience of sitting through Curry's 90-minute monologues about his trials and tribulations. When it was his turn, Curry drew laughs calling himself the "incredible vanishing man," and said he couldn't help notice how many of the movers and shakers were sliding past him to get to Johnson, the new man of the moment.
"I'm still here," Curry told the crowd. "I'm still signing the checks."
He reminded the audience of a few of his administration's accomplishments, which he said included fixing the county's finances. "We've established a standard for performance that so far didn't embarrass people," he said.
"I love you. I love you," Curry told the crowd before exiting. "You didn't leave me, I love you."
Howard Named Chairman Prince George's House delegation emerged from its first official meeting since this month's elections with a new chairman.
Del. Carolyn J.B. Howard (D-Mitchellville) defeated Del. Dereck Davis (D-Largo) at the Nov. 14 gathering. Howard is a 15-year veteran of the House who supervises grant funds for the county public school system. She opposed the legislative vote to replace the county school board with an appointed panel. She replaces Del. Rushern L. Baker III (D-Cheverly), who gave up his seat to mount an unsuccessful run for county executive.
Del. James E. Proctor Jr. (D-Brandywine) was elected vice chairman of the all-Democrat delegation.
Staff writer Nurith C. Aizenman contributed to this report.