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LARGO — Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks announced during a press conference on March 5 the release of the Transition Report compiled over the last three months by her Transition Team detailing recommendations to support strategies to benefit the county.
Shortly after her election as county executive, Alsobrooks formed a Transition Team with the goal of coming up with long-term and short-term opportunities to improve Prince George’s County during her time in office in 12 focus areas including Budget and Finance, Central Services, Economic Development, Education and Workforce, Health and Human Services, Public Engagement and more.
“I’m excited about where we’re going, very excited,” Alsobrooks said. “The best part of it is I know that excitement is also felt by the people we represent. I can’t tell you just what a thrill it is to be the county executive in a place where the love and optimism is so high everywhere I go.”
The Transition Team is co-chaired by President and CEO of Strategic Solutions Center Major Riddick and President and CEO of United Way of the National Capital Region Rosie Allen-Herring.
The 12 workgroups were chaired and composed of leaders from both public and private sectors such as Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) Interim CEO Monica Goldson, Bowie State University President Aminta Breaux and University of Maryland President Wallace Loh leading the Education and Workforce group.
County Council Chair Todd Turner and Prince George’s Chamber of Commerce President David Harrington were leaders of the Economic Development Group. District 21 Delegate Joseline Pena-Melnyk was part of the Health and Human Services Group, and President and CEO of the Greater Prince George’s Business Roundtable Jim Estepp was a leader of the Public Safety group.
All of the groups of the Transition Team compiled a report with the help of experts consisting of volunteers, staffers and county representatives identifying opportunities within their focus area and strategies for how to achieve each one.
The Budget and Finance Group identified goals such as ensuring sufficient funding for capital budgets and critical county funds as well as improving tax policies, leveraging technology and increasing the county’s commercial tax base which Alsobrooks said includes ensuring that Prince George’s County is seen as a “business-friendly environment.”
According to the Central Services group, their goal when compiling their report was ensuring that the county maintains the highest possible standard of “operational services through policies and procedures that are driven by integrity, efficiency, transparency, motivational leadership and strong team concepts.”
That includes developing proficient human resources functions, ensuring that employees have the required training and certifications and improved organizational efficiency. Alsobrooks added that the idea is about more than developing the county’s workforce, but investing in the already existing workforce as well.
The Education and Workforce group highlighted several goals which would continue to improve the school system such as behavioral health support, expansion of career and technical education programs and resources for parents.
Additionally, they included a P-20 model for PGCPS where the public education system spans through not just the completion of high school, but through a students entire college career an emphasized that the job of the school system is also to help students gain employment after school as well.
“This will encompass providing innovations in learning, community engagement and strategic partnerships that inspire educational, career and personal success as desired outcomes for all Prince George’s County residents,” the members of the group said in their report. “This vision is a shared operational statement from the organizations that invest in the education of our P-20 students.”
The vision of the Housing and Community Development Group is to establish Prince George’s County “as a community of choice through effective use of resources and public/private partnerships.”
On a housing standpoint, this includes improving property standards throughout the county and improving access to affordable housing. That also provides development opportunities such as the Glenarden redevelopment project, the Town Square at Suitland Federal Center and the redevelopment of 1313 Southern Avenue to provide contemporary mixed-income senior housing and services to the greater Oxon Hill community.
According to Alsobrooks, she has been working with state leaders to bring in funding over the next five years to address issues with redeveloping vacant homes, eliminating food deserts in the inner beltway and revitalizing shopping centers.
“We have targeted legislation, and we have been working even with the governor’s staff to make sure that we are applying for funding…We’re looking at $7 million each year for the next five years, and this will allow us to revitalize housing, to buy some of these houses and work with nonprofits to rebuild these houses and create land banks.”
She also said she is working with Annapolis leaders to develop a Youth Sports Division to improve sports opportunities throughout the county which she said comes down to the importance of investing in the county’s young people.
“I want everyone to be clear, the Youth Sports is not just about creating athletes,” she said. “It’s about investing in young people. That is the reason we’ve really invested the way that we have. We want young people who are not only physically strong but who are mentally strong, emotionally strong, who understand the concepts of teamwork and perseverance and these are some of the principles we think we can help instill in our kids and build stronger students through our youth sports program.”
Along with Alsobrooks’ projections, the Youth Sports group said their vision is about providing “high-quality support for youth sports programs via an innovative and comprehensive plan for all existing youth sports programs that ensures all children, parents, coaches and volunteers.”
Their report recommended establishing a youth sports division within the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, centralizing youth sports program offerings and establishing partnerships with independent and private youth sports operators.
The Public Safety Group established goals for corrections, fire and EMS, police, the sheriff’s office and homeland security centered around transparency and adhering to the needs and safety of the community.
“Public safety in our county is second to none,” Alsobrooks said. “That’s the truth in terms of the state standing, all of our public safety agencies are some of the strongest in the region. So the goal here is to make sure we are continuing to resource and staff those various areas.”
The report also included recommendations regarding Organizational Development and Talent Management, Public Engagement and Technology.