Prince George’s County Council member Leslie E. Johnson (D-Mitchellville) came to the office Monday, voted on several nominations, and as has been her custom, gave no outward indication that anything in her life had changed.
But much has. Monday was Johnson’s first day back in the public eye since last Tuesday, when her council colleagues voted behind closed doors to strip her of her staff, county car, cellphone and laptop after she pleaded guilty June 30 to destruction of evidence in a far-reaching public corruption probe. Johnson turned in the items Friday, according to a council spokeswoman.
Her colleagues had asked for her to step down immediately but she ignored them. Johnson did not tell either council chairman Ingrid M. Turner (D-Bowie) or council vice chairman Eric Olson (D-College Park) that she planned to show up Monday
On Monday, Johnson wore her trademark pearl necklace and a pink suit. She voted yes in a straw vote on County Executive Rushern L. Baker’s nominations for planning board and director of environment.
While council members were able to cut off funding to Johnson and her office, they can’t take away her salary and they can’t bar her from showing up and voting on matters before the full council, according to county officials.
So it appears likely that the public will have at least two more opportunities to see Johnson on the council. She has has set her resignation date as July 31, and appears likely to return to her seat on the dais when the council meets Tuesday, and for its final regular session July 19. She is paid $1,870 weekly.
Once Johnson’s resignation takes effect, the council will return, most likely Aug. 2, to set a special election for Johnson’s replacement. The primaries and general election must be held within 90 days of July 31, and are expected to cost the county $200,0000 to $250,000, according to county elections chief Alisha Alexander.