A vote to decide who should lead the county's House delegation during the upcoming General Assembly session was canceled this week.

Prince George's House Delegation Chairman Carolyn J.B. Howard (D-Mitchellville) said Monday that she was asked to reschedule the vote after several members said they were unable to make the meeting.

"Some members asked that I change the date," Howard said. "One member was having surgery, another was on jury duty. And I think we want all the members present for the meeting."

Del. Melony G. Griffith (D-Suitland), who is challenging Howard for the leadership post, said she is concerned that time is slipping away from the delegation, which is scheduled to hold public hearings next month to discuss proposals for bills that would affect the county.

Rushern L. Baker III, former delegation chairman, said the meeting to select the chairman typically takes place in July, especially during off-election years for legislators.

"The more time that elapses, the less time we have to discuss the issues we'll be facing during the session," Griffith said.

Howard said she has tentatively rescheduled the vote for 8 a.m. on Oct. 21.

Griffith's Work Status

Speaking of Griffith, she has recently been seen during the workweek in the county Health Department, leaving some people to speculate that she has taken a job in the Johnson administration.

Griffith is working for the county, she said. But she said she is not technically a county employee.

Here's the deal:

Griffith, a social worker, has worked in the county in some capacity on health and social service projects since 1992. Most of those projects were funded by the federal government.

For example, Griffith worked on a proposal for a grant in 1997 to do research on sexually transmitted diseases. The Academy for Educational Development won the project, which included working with the county Health Department. Griffith worked for AED.

Beginning last month, Griffith became a "term-limited, grant-funded employee" of the county. That means she has an office in the Health Department and works up to 40 hours a week until June 30, 2005, on a federal initiative known as Healthier Lifestyles.

Vote Against Question H


The Prince George's Democratic Central Committee has voted against supporting Question H, a charter amendment that would expand the County Council by two members. Question H, pushed by ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, would also change the way council leadership is selected.

Ivey a No-Show

County Executive Jack B. Johnson (D) and District Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) announced earlier this week that they had put together a team to deal with crime, health care and transportation problems in the Prince George's communities along the District border. The group includes the two executives and aides from their offices.

But missing from the team was someone who had written at least one of the pages in the playbook: state's attorney Glenn F. Ivey. About 18 months ago, Ivey announced a cross-border initiative that included a plan allowing police officers to cross the border in the line of duty. The initiative never moved much further because it needed approval from Johnson.

"It is my understanding that he was invited," said John Erzen, a spokesman for Johnson, of Ivey's absence. "Why he didn't show up, you'd have to ask him." Ivey said he does not recall bei ng invited. But he is happy that the initiative is being advanced.

Changes at Dimensions

Two top executives at Dimensions Healthcare System, which has been struggling to stay afloat financially, were forced to resign last week.

Patrick F. Mutch, president and chief executive, and Noel A. Cervino, executive vice president and chief financial officer, will remain with the system until interim replacements are named.

Mutch and Cervino have been with Dimensions, which oversees Prince George's Hospital Center, for 14 years. Their departure marks the first major change made since the state and county collaborated earlier this year to bring in a turnaround company to review the hospital system's management.

"The board of directors and the current management team view this measure as a necessary step for improving financial strength of the organization and building toward a successful future," Calvin Brown, president of the Dimensions board of directors, said in a statement announcing the forced resignations.

The County Council announced it will convene as the Board of Health on Oct. 26 to discuss the current status of the hospital system.

Staff writer Jamie Stockwell contributed to this article.