Del. Carolyn J.B. Howard (D-Mitchellville) recently won the election to chair the county House delegation for the next two years. The vote was unanimous.

At least that's what the official record will say.

Howard was challenged this year by Del. Melony G. Griffith (D-Suitland). Although the final vote for Howard was 14-0, there are questions about whether the same tally would have been recorded if delegates had cast their ballots secretly.

Del. Barbara A. Frush (D-Calverton) made a motion during the recent delegation meeting that the delegates be able to vote by secret ballot.

Frush's motion came after a petition drive was mounted by members of the delegation to hold the elections by secret ballot.

"It's just the way I think it should be," said Frush, who pushes for a secret vote every time a contested race comes before the delegation. "I think it should be that way because when the vote is taken openly, personal feelings get into it."

Frush said secret ballots are taken to elect the heads of the state's legislative black caucus and its women's caucus. The county delegation should be no different, she said.

"We had a number of senators and committee chairs putting pressure on people," Frush said. "We had a congressman putting pressure on people."

Frush's motion lost by one vote.

Howard said recently that she was puzzled as to why some delegates wanted a secret ballot.

"The assumption is that someone may have said they were going to vote for a certain person, but if we had a secret ballot that their vote would be different," Howard said.

Griffith would not comment on her failed run for chairman. "It's clear that the members of the delegation are pleased with the direction that Chairman Howard is taking the delegation," she said.

Frush said the recent vote isn't the end of her effort to change the way the chairman of the delegation is elected. She said she will ask the delegation in January to officially change its rules so that all votes for contested races are taken by secret ballot.

Speaking of the House delegation, a public hearing will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Rennie Forum at Prince George's Community College to discuss bills regarding county affairs that will be introduced during the upcoming General Assembly session. Bills dealing with law enforcement will be discussed Nov. 30.

Many Possibilities for Ivey

U.S. Senate? House of Representatives? Attorney general? Lieutenant governor? County executive?

Scratch "county executive" off the long list of possible public offices that State's Attorney Glenn F. Ivey (D) has set his sights on.

Ivey said this week that he is not planning to make a run against incumbent Jack B. Johnson (D) in 2006.

"I just want to make sure that any speculation isn't causing any distraction," Ivey said. "I want to make sure it doesn't get in the way of what we're trying to do here."

It also makes it clear to campaign contributors that if they are worried about an allegiance to Johnson, they can support them both.

So, what are you running for, Mr. Ivey?

"I haven't made any kind of decision yet," he said.

High-Level Adjustments

Johnson has quietly made some major administration changes in recent weeks.

Iris B. Boswell, a special assistant to Johnson who has wielded major influence within the administration -- overseeing economic development and labor relations -- has been promoted to deputy chief administrative officer for management and budget.

Boswell will fill a position that has been vacant since Stanley A. Earley resigned last year. Earley was the only senior member of Democrat Wayne K. Curry's administration to land a top-level position on Johnson's staff.

In her new role, Boswell, whose appointment has not been confirmed by the County Council, will administer the county's $2 billion budget and represent Prince George's before bond rating agencies on Wall Street.

Alfonso N. Cornish, deputy chief administrative officer for Governmental Operations and Environmental Services, will take on the oversight of economic development issues.

Meanwhile Fariba Kassiri, an adviser to Johnson on economic development, has resigned. Kassiri, who worked for the county for nearly 14 years, has taken a position with Montgomery County's Department of Environmental Protection.