The Prince George’s County Council approved the nomination of Betty Hewlett on Tuesday as chairman of the Planning Board, allowing her to take the panel’s reins again after a five-year hiatus.
Hewlett, who served as co-chair of the transition committee on environment, transit and sustainability for Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III, will replace Samuel J. Parker Jr. as head of the five-member board.
In her role as chair, Hewlett will have substantial influence over how the county will look over the next several decades.
Baker said Hewlett’s previous experience on the Planning Board and the Metro Board will be invaluable as the county pushes for development around the county’s Metro stations.
“This the kind of leader that Prince George’s County needs and the kind of leader Prince George’s County deserves,” said one former colleague who spoke on Hewlett’s behalf.
The council also approved the nominations of four department heads, including fire chief, director of the troubled housing agency, head of the Department of Environmental Resources and director of the Office of Central Services.
The council voted unanimously to approve Marc S. Bashoor as fire chief; Eric C. Brown as director of the Department of Housing and Community Development; Monica J. Johnson as director of the Office of Central Services; and Samuel E. Wynkoop Jr. as head of the Department of Environmental Resources.
A couple council members expressed concerns about diversity in the ranks of the fire department.
Council member Leslie Johnson (D-Mitchellville), attending her second meeting since her resignation last week, offered her first comments since she submitted her resignation. Her resignation is effective July 31.
“Your department must reflect the wonderful diversity of our county,” Johnson said, noting that Bashoor has devised a plan for the upcoming year. “My constituents look forward to the implementation of the plan.”
Before the unanimous vote for Brown, council member Andrea Harrison (D-Springdale) said: “It’s no secret that we’ve had some issues (in the housing agency) ... I think we’re on the right track. We have a long way to go.”
Council member Mary Lehman (D-Laurel), who voted against Wynkoop’s nomination during a straw vote Monday, said Tuesday that she would support the nomination “with hope that you will turn this agency around and make it a model of good government.”
The council also approved two members to the Planning Board, former county council member Dorothy F. Bailey and A. Shuanise Washington. Bailey will replace Jesse Clark and Washington will fill the seat vacated by Sylvester Vaughns.