Whitman-Walker Ends Service in Suburbs
Cash-Flow Problems Force Clinic's Retrenchment
The Whitman-Walker Clinic will pull out of the Maryland and Northern Virginia suburbs, lay off nearly one-fourth of its staff of 260 and reduce, consolidate or end a host of other programs to stabilize the organization's finances and future. The measures amount to the most severe retrenchment in the 32-year history of the clinic, which began as a gay men's health center and built a national reputation for its AIDS programs. Severe cash-flow problems forced the nonprofit organization's board to scrutinize every aspect of its $30 million operation. More than one-third of the savings will come through terminating work in Takoma Park and Arlington, where the organization serves more than 600 people with HIV or AIDS.
Hornsby's Interim Replacement Named
Burnett Wants to Limit Tenure to Several Months
Howard A. Burnett, a veteran Prince George's educator, is serving as the interim county schools chief, taking over after the abrupt departure of Andre J. Hornsby. Burnett, 52, who is scheduled to retire in the fall, said he has no interest in leading the 136,000-student system for longer than a few months. He said he will emphasize organizational continuity.
Hornsby, who accepted $125,000 in severance pay to leave midway through a four-year contract, is being investigated by the FBI over his stewardship of federal funds. Several top elected officials, including County Executive Jack B. Johnson (D), voiced support for the school board's decision to pay Hornsby $125,000, saying the severance deal avoided lengthy litigation. Critics said it unfairly rewarded a man who is under investigation and is the subject of an independent ethics report.
Arundel Approves $1.1 Billion Budget
County's Largest Plan Includes 4% Teacher Raise
The Anne Arundel County Council approved a $1.1 billion budget, the largest in county history, including money for a 4 percent pay raise for teachers. The budget represents a 14 percent increase over the spending plan approved a year ago. It includes an 11 percent increase in education spending. The county is required by a local revenue cap to lower the property tax rate for 2006 to 93.1 cents per $100 of assessed value -- a decrease of 1 cent.
Bribe Allegedly Sought for Contract
2 Ex-Officials Wanted $250,000, Authorities Say
Two former Prince George's County officials, under investigation by the Maryland state prosecutor's office for allegedly receiving bribes, are accused of seeking $250,000 in exchange for awarding a $1 million security contract, according to three government officials with direct knowledge of the probe. Robert L. Isom, former deputy director of the county's Department of Environmental Resources, and Robert L. Thomas, former deputy director of the Office of Central Services, have not been charged with a crime. Agents for the state prosecutor executed search warrants last month at their homes and county offices, seizing records and computer equipment.
Around the Region
Snyder's Tree-Clearing; 911 Center Hiring
* A National Park Service official and environmental leaders who once backed the federal government's decision to allow Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder to remove 130 mature trees from protected land near the C&O Canal now say they are unsure it was the right decision. Montgomery County is investigating whether the arrangement violated local law.
* The Prince George's County emergency 911 call center will hire more employees after residents complained that they were put on hold when they called to report the fast-moving fire that killed an elderly Chapel Oaks couple last month.
* John W. Hinckley Jr., who tried to kill President Ronald Reagan in 1981, again asked a judge to allow him to visit his parents overnight in Williamsburg. A hearing is scheduled in September.