According to a source in the Maryland Attorney General’s Office Leslie Johnson will be allowed to remain a member of the Prince George’s County Council until her sentencing in October. Johnson has yet to announce any decisions on her tenure on the council however did say upon leaving the court she only wanted to continue to serve the citizens of Prince George’s. Maryland law only allows for an elected official to be removed from office if they are convicted or plead guilty to a felony and that doesn’t officially happen until she is sentenced in October the source said. Should Johnson decide to stay on the council until October it will push back any special election to fill her unexpired term.
The County Charter empowers the council to order a special election if a vacancy occurs within the first three years of a council members term. Johnson has been in office for less than a year. Therefore should Johnson stay on the council until October 13th the body (under county law 020-104) will have until October 20th (seven days) to adopt a resolution setting both a primary and general election for district 6 voters. The law also says the primary election cannot be earlier than 45 days after the vacancy (November 27th) or later than 60 days (December 12th). The general election under county law cannot be earlier than sixty days (December 12th) or later than 90 days (January 11th). What makes all of this so interesting is that at least a portion of the 6th council manic district will have school board election in April 3rd only 83 days later. Also questions are already being debated if the special election will be subject to the redrawn district lines the county redistricting commission is working on now and the council is expected to approve in the fall, possibly before Johnson steps down.
Johnson could possibly return to work at the County Administrative Building as early as next week where she can likely be assured of more pressure to step down by both her peers and members of the community.
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