Tag Archives: Mel Franklin

Md. politician Mel Franklin has wrecked a government vehicle before


Prince George’s County Council member Mel Franklin (D-Upper Marlboro) was charged with driving under the influence in an injury crash on Nov. 21. (Mark Gail/For The Washington Post)

By Arelis R. Hernández December 1 at 7:22 PM

Prince George’s County Council member Mel Franklin, who was charged with driving under the influence last week in a crash that injured two people, also damaged another government vehicle on two separate occasions four years ago, according to county records.

Franklin (D-Upper Marlboro) totaled a county-owned Ford Explorer sport-utility vehicle in a distracted-driving crash in 2012, the records show, two months after banging up the same vehicle in an incident that he did not report to police.

The more serious collision involved Franklin rear-ending a car on the Beltway and resulted in more than $33,000 in repair costs and losses to the government, according to damage reports. Neither crash was reported to the public when it occurred.

Franklin was behind the wheel of another county-issued SUV last week, late on the night of Nov. 21, when he allegedly plowed into the back of a sedan on Pennsylvania Avenue near Forestville. The driver and passenger from the sedan went to the hospital. Police said no one else was in Franklin’s vehicle.

The second-term council member was charged with driving under the influence after state troopers tested him and found he had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.10, greater than the legal limit of 0.08. Police said Franklin was about 70 yards away from the Ford Explorer, in the median of the roadway, when they arrived at the scene.


This car was allegedly struck by an SUV driven by Prince George’s Council member Mel Franklin on Nov. 21. (TWP)

Franklin, 41, has not responded to repeated requests for comment. His attorney also declined to answer questions.

In Prince George’s County, lawmakers can be assigned a full-time car from the county’s fleet of vehicles, or seek a travel stipend to cover the cost of driving their own cars on official business. The county vehicles are for work-related travel and incidental personal use.

County Council spokeswoman Karen Campbell said Thursday that because of his driving record, Franklin will no longer have access to the fleet.

The lawmaker was issued an SUV when he was elected to office in 2010, according to Roland Jones, director of the county’s Office of Central Services. On Oct. 5, 2012, he was involved in a crash that damaged the SUV’s front end and grill but was not reported to police. It cost the county about $1,500 to fix the vehicle.

On Dec. 5 of that year, about 7:30 p.m., Franklin slammed the SUV into the back of a GMC Yukon on the Beltway. He told state troopers “he took his eyes off the road for a moment” to change the radio station and did not receive a citation.

The county’s body shop declared the vehicle a “total loss,” which cost the government $33,171.92 to replace, according to documents provided to The Washington Post.

Neither Franklin nor his attorney have said where he was headed at the time of each of the collisions.

Franklin at that point began to use his personal vehicle, Jones said. In May of this year, he asked for a county vehicle and was issued the SUV that was involved in the crash that led to the drunken-driving charge.

Campbell, the council spokeswoman, would not say whether Franklin needed approval to be assigned the SUV.

Franklin isn’t the first Prince George’s elected official to get in trouble while driving a county-owned vehicle. In 2012, council member Karen R. Toles (D-Suitland) was clocked going more than 100 mph on the Beltway and charged with reckless driving. She avoided getting points on her driver’s license by agreeing to be sentenced to probation before judgment after a two-hour trial before Anne Arundel District Court Judge Megan Johnson.

Toles still uses a take-home vehicle, Campbell said, as do council members Andrea C. Harrison (D-Springdale), Obie Patterson (D-Fort Washington), Todd M. Turner (D-Bowie) and Mary A. Lehman (D-Laurel). Council Chair Derrick Leon Davis (D-Mitchellville), vice-chair Dannielle M. Glaros (D-Riverdale Park) and council member Deni Taveras (D-Adelphi) receive the automobile allowance, Campbell said.

Other Washington-area jurisdictions appear to have more stringent policies on when elected lawmakers can use government vehicles.

Members of the Montgomery County Council drive their own cars and are reimbursed for mileage, officials there said. In Arlington County, board members and the appointed county manager have access to the county’s fleet of vehicles on an as-needed basis, for county business only, spokeswoman Mary Curtius said.

Members of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors do not have full-time access to vehicles but can reserve a car if needed for government business or work-related trips. The District of Columbia has a pool of two cars and a van that the 13-member council and its staffers share for official business only.

Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III, who has a government-issued car and driver, said he has limited the number of people in the executive branch who have access to the fleet. He added that his administration does not police the council.

“It’s clearly within their purview to make the rules,” Baker said. “I think they’ll look at the policies now and see if they need to be changed.”

via Washington post. 



Pr. George’s council member charged with DUI after crashing county vehicle And leaving scene


Prince George’s County Council member Mel Franklin gave remarks after he took the oath of office in December 2014. (Mark Gail/For The Washington Post)

Prince George’s County Council member Mel Franklin was charged with driving under the influence after he crashed a government-owned vehicle recently into a car stopped at a traffic light, police said.

Franklin (D-Upper Marlboro) was traveling south along Pennsylvania Avenue in a county SUV about 11:30 p.m. Nov. 21 when he rear-ended a Mercedes stopped at a light near Dower House Road, according to Maryland State Police.

A breath test measured his blood alcohol concentration at 0.10, according to a copy of a police report obtained by The Washington Post. In Maryland, a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or more supports a DUI charge.

Two people in the car that Franklin is charged with hitting suffered “suspected minor injuries” and were transported to a hospital, according to the report and state police. It does not appear that Franklin was injured, but the impact caused the air bag in his vehicle to deploy, according to the police report.

Franklin, a longtime community activist and lawyer, was first elected to the County Council in 2010 to represent some of the most rural parts of southern Prince George’s County. He is widely considered one of the lead candidates to succeed County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) in 2018. But Democrats say he has also been eyeing one of the two new at-large seats created following the November referendum vote to expand the council.


An SUV allegedly driven by Prince George’s Council member Mel Franklin in a Nov. 21 collision in which he has been charged with DUI. (Image via Jaklitsch Law Group)

News of his arrest prompted a demand for his resignation from Progressive Prince George’s, a county branch of a statewide coalition of civic activists and grass-roots organizations working on local progressive politics.

“We believe that he can no longer be entrusted with public responsibility because of his disregard for the law,” the group said in a statement Wednesday that called for Franklin to personally cover the costs of “any property damage and medical bills” resulting from his alleged actions.

Franklin did not respond to a request for comment on his arrest. His attorney, Theresa Moore, confirmed his involvement and said, “as you are aware, this is a legal matter and these issues will be addressed in court.”

Franklin is expected to receive a summons with a court date, though it was unclear when that would occur.

County Council Chair Derrick Leon Davis (D-Mitchellville) said in a statement that Franklin has “relinquished the use of his county vehicle and no longer has use of or access to any county-issued vehicle.”

When troopers arrived at the crash, Franklin was not in the immediate area of the Ford Explorer he was driving, police said. A trooper spotted him about 70 yards away in the center median, crossing the road before walking along the shoulder of the highway, police said.


The car allegedly hit from the rear at a traffic light by Prince George’s Council member Mel Franklin in a Nov. 21 collision. (Image via Jaklitsch Law Group)

It’s unclear from the police report why Franklin was away from the SUV. The incident was first reported by WJLA-TV (ABC7).

Police identified the driver and the passenger of the Mercedes hit as Matthew and Theresa Collins of Upper Marlboro.

The couple have been released from the hospital but is still undergoing medical treatment, according to their attorney, Christine Murphy of Jaklitsch Law Group.

Murphy said the couple were driving home when they were stopped at a red light and “suddenly struck from behind.” “They’re definitely shaken up,” Murphy said.

Franklin was released to the custody of his wife, according to the initial incident report obtained by The Washington Post, which also shows he turned 41 Wednesday.

Based on information in the police report, it appears Franklin could be subject to the state’s new, tougher ignition-lock law, dubbed “Noah’s Law” after a Montgomery County police officer fatally struck by a drunk driver.

The long-stalled bill to expand use of ignition locks was approved in the final hour of the annual legislative session, in which legislation over alcohol and driving figured prominently. It lowers the offending blood alcohol level at which ignition locks are required from 0.15 to 0.08.

“According to the law, effective Oct. 1, a first-offense DUI conviction would require installation of an ignition interlock,” said Greg Shipley, a spokesman for state police.

Franklin was charged with driving while impaired by alcohol, driving while under the influence of alcohol, negligent driving and failure to control speed on a highway to avoid collision, police said.

State police said they will work with the Prince George’s state’s attorney’s office to determine whether any other charges are necessary.

John Erzen, a spokesman for the state’s attorney’s office, said that because Franklin is an elected county official, the office will secure a prosecutor from another jurisdiction to handle the case.

Council members have the option of using the county government’s fleet of vehicles, with the cost deducted from their paychecks. If council members use their own cars for government-related travel, they receive an allowance to help offset costs.

Barry Hudson, a spokesman for Baker, deferred questions about Franklin’s vehicle use to the council, which did not have immediate answers to questions regarding Franklin’s record of using county-owned vehicles.

Retired Prince George’s firefighter Jonn Mack said that he has known Franklin for more than a decade since their time as Young Democrats and that Franklin is a “fighter for the community” who had won the trust of constituents and was focused on bringing needed development to the county.

“This is completely out of character,” Mack said in an interview Wednesday.

via Washington post



Update: Budget war in Prince George’s: Council overrides Rushern Baker’s vetoes


The council reconvened at 8:30 p.m., with Deni Taveras (D-Adelphi) absent, and voted 8 to 0 to kill each of Baker’s 32 line-item vetoes, restoring the budget they passed on May 28, 2015.

June 16 at 10:15 PM

The Prince George’s County Council voted Tuesday to override budget vetoes handed down by County Executive Rushern L. Baker III, rejecting for the second time in three weeks a proposed double-digit increase in the property tax rate.

The decision illustrates a stark shift by the nine-member council, which has supported most of Baker’s major initiatives throughout his 4 1 /2 years in office.

It reflects concern among lawmakers about increasing the tax burden on the county’s residents, who already are taxed more than residents of neighboring jurisdictions and were hit hard by the recession and foreclosure crises. And it demonstrates skepticism of Baker’s theory that an infusion of money into the troubled public school system will catapult it from the bottom of state rankings to the top over the next five years.

Baker (D) said he vetoed parts of the council-approved budget for two reasons: Because he thinks more spending for schools is vital to the county’s future and because he thinks that the council acted illegally by trimming his budget request by more than 1 percent.

Council members say the second rationale is based on a misinterpretation of a 2006 law that addresses the council’s ability to adjust revenue projections — not budget appropriations.

Baker’s interpretation “is wrong and would unconstitutionally erode our system of checks and balances and give the county executive the near-unlimited power to raise taxes,” said Mel Franklin (D-Upper Marlboro), the council’s chairman.

Baker waited until a 5 p.m. deadline Tuesday to send his vetoes to the council, long after lawmakers’ legislative session was scheduled to have ended.

The council reconvened at 8:30 p.m., with Deni Taveras (D-Adelphi) absent, and voted 8 to 0 to kill each of Baker’s 32 line-item vetoes, restoring the budget they passed on May 28.

The council’s overrides reinstate a 4-cent increase in the property tax rate. Baker had originally proposed a 15-cent increase, then floated an 11.45-cent increase on Monday.

Although the amount is significantly smaller than what Baker sought, it would be the first property tax increase in Prince George’s in nearly four decades — a blow to anti-tax activists who pushed through a tax cap in 1978 and have defended it ever since.

Baker circumvented the cap using a 2012 state law that allows rate increases in excess of statutory limitations if they are specifically designated to fund approved public school budgets. Although members of the council objected during weeks of heated public hearings, they ended up implicitly endorsing the approach by voting for the 4-cent increase.

Lawmakers also overrode Baker’s veto of a 1.5-cent increase in the Prince George’s park and planning tax.

What happens next is unclear. Citizens could go to court to challenge the county’s decision to raise property taxes.

And Baker said Monday that the council’s override could be vulnerable to legal challenge as well, based on his contention that county law prohibits the council from adjusting the budget up or down by more than 1 percent.

Franklin called Baker’s discussion of litigation “embarrassing and strange” for the county as well as “self destructive and self-defeating.”

“Hopefully, the county executive will not go down that road.”

If no one challenges the budget, the version approved by the council would take effect July 1, the start of the fiscal year.

That budget eliminates furloughs and layoffs that Baker proposed to deal with a revenue shortfall and provides money to shore up teacher pensions. But it does not fund any of the programs Baker and school chief Kevin Maxwell have proposed to try to remake the public school system.

Read more >>> It’s an official big mess in Prince George’s County


Baker’s interpretation “is wrong and would unconstitutionally erode our system of checks and balances and give the county executive the near-unlimited power to raise taxes,” said Mel Franklin (D-Upper Marlboro), the council’s chairman.

WRC_0000000010667624_1200x675_454237251635Mel Franklin (D-Upper Marlboro), the council’s chairman called Baker’s discussion of litigation “embarrassing and strange” for the county as well as “self destructive and self-defeating.”





Prince George’s Hospital loses funding.


UPPER MARLBORO— County officials continue to express displeasure over Governor Larry Hogan’s proposed 2016 budget after learning the Prince George’s Hospital could lose $15 million in funding.

According to County Council Chairman Mel Franklin, Hogan has backed out of a memorandum of understanding between the state, Prince George’s County and the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMS), resulting in a loss of $15 million in funding for the Prince George’s Hospital.

Franklin said the funds were intended to help keep Prince George’s Hospital operational until the Regional Medical Center is built. Per the agreement, the county would match that funding and UMS would operate the center.

However, according to Franklin, that money has been removed from the budget and will not be restored until the Regional Medical Center project gets finished. Hogan provided $30 million for the development of the Regional Medical Center in 2016, and provided funding through 2018 to ensure the project reaches completion. While remains pleased that Hogan has committed to building the Regional Medical Center, Franklin said he wants to make sure funding is restored in a supplemental budget.

“This temporary bridge funding is a necessary part of bringing the new regional medical center into being because it ensures no interruption in service while we proceed in this essential state project,” Franklin said.

>>> Read more 


PGCPS School System Facing Sting of Budget Cuts.

dsc_0669Dr. Maxwell hired several close friends and others connected to Rushern Baker III regime awarding six figure salaries to each one of them at the expense of PGCPS Children. Any cuts within the school system needs to start at Sasscer administrative Building where his close friends are based. There is no need to cut teachers who work hard in the classroom. 

 UPPER MARLBORO – County officials are reeling after taking a deeper look into Governor Larry Hogan’s proposed state budget.

County Council Chairman Mel Franklin said the “mixed bag the county received is a worse mix than we thought,” while Prince George’s County Public Schools CEO Kevin Maxwell, said cuts could equate to more than 500 teachers’ jobs.

Two weeks ago Hogan announced his proposed budget, cutting the state aid the county receives from the geographic cost of education index (GCEI) in half, resulting in a reduction of $19.7 million, according to PGCPS Chief Financial Officer Raymond Brown, the school system’s chief financial officer. Brown also said the school system will lose out on $12.7 million as a result of Hogan freezing the per-pupil funding for the state’s Foundation program at the level for fiscal 2015. The school system will also receive $4.1 million less than the estimated after Hogan chose to delay the phase-in of the net taxable income (NTI) funding, keeping the funding at 40 percent instead of increasing it to 60 percent. In total, Brown said the school system will miss out on an extra $38 million.


PRINCE-largerushern-baker-head-111010wMr. Rushern Baker III – Architect of school system take over  which was capriciously done.


Mohammed Ali: No one criticizes; no one asks hard questions to the government- It feels as if all media houses are state owned.