Mount Rainier city officials struggled with how to respond to reports of missing or stolen documents disappeared from City Hall in late 2019, according to emails obtained by Route 1 Reporter. Frustrated with that response, one Mount Rainier City Councilor says he has contacted state authorities to seek an investigation into the matter, which he describes as either a “crime” or a “theft” that could be the result of an inside-job by either city staff or elected officials. The missing documents include code enforcement files relating to some of the biggest apartment complexes in the city, as well as documents related to an “unemployment claim” from former city manager Miranda Braatz’s departure from Mount Rainier. This is not the first time in recent memory Mount Rainier city officials have had to deal with document security issues in City Hall. In the closing days of Braatz’s administration in September 2019, confidential sexual harassment reports stored in city hall were discovered to have been leaked to the press.
New revelations include confusion over the city’s administrative check-signing and credit card policies, allegations of improper credit card spending, proposals to freeze hiring or impose salary caps, and new wrinkles in the ongoing saga of the city’s now-three years of delayed audits.
Mount Rainier has hired an interim city manager to head up the town’s administration as it looks for a full-timer to take on the role. The new city manager is Latasha Gatling, a former town councilor and, later, a town administrator for the city of Seat Pleasant and a former liason with the Prince George’s County Council. Gatling’s first day on the job is Nov. 19, 2019.
The hire was announced by Mount Rainier Councilor Celina Benitez in a Facebook post Nov. 14, 2019.
Braatz thanked city residents, and highlighted her administration’s economic development, tax, and infrastructure policies during her three-and-a-half year tenure with the city. She also said she will be announcing a new position of some sort.
January has a reputation in the news industry for being a slow month. Well, consider the trend bucked here in the Route 1 corridor. Because it’s the last week of the month, Route 1 Reporter turns its attention to running down the top stories of January. The most-read stories focused on development issues, and who can blame us for being interested in that? Development – or, in the case of many Route 1 properties – redevelopment news is a Rorshach test upon which we project our own insecurities about our communities.
Maryland Matters has the scoop on a controversial proposal to repeal a campaign finance law that restricts how developers can donate to County candidates, plus new recommendations for fire and EMS personnel responding to violent or armed situations, and a fatal crash shuts down Route 1 Saturday.
Maryland government begins to open up services to furloughed federal employees, an update on the Kirwan Commission, and new plaques commemorating two iconic African-American Marylanders are bound for the state capitol.
Editor’s note: Please see the correction notice after the article. A Prince George’s County youth career and college training program has added to its roster of participating nonprofits. The program, dubbed the Ready for Work Nonprofit Capacity Building Initiative, is a six-year, $15 million effort by Venture Philanthropy Partners. The program’s goal is to build networks of community-based organizations that can help provide or supplement social services. The money will be split into “mini-grants” between four Prince George’s County nonprofits on a project-by-project, each selected through a competitive bid process and specifically focused on providing high school students with academic achievement, high school completion, post-secondary preparation, career readiness and healthy behaviors.
They newly selected nonprofits are:
The Training Source, College and Career Pathways, Inc., Liberty’s Promise and Community Youth Advance
They join last year’s recipients First Generation College Bound, Foundation for the Advancement of Music and Education, Inc. (FAME), Joe’s Movement Emporium and End Time Harvest Ministries.
The developers behind the Hyattsville Armory Apartments have fleshed out architectural designs for the proposed mixed-use development in the city’s downtown Baltimore Avenue corridor. Hyattsville City Council got a rundown on the new details at is Jan. 22, 2019, meeting. City officials have so far been receptive to the project, but some City Council members noted reiterated during the meeting concerns about affordability, parking and impacts on local schools. The Hyattsville Armory developers, Washington, D.C.,-based Urban Investment Partners, want to build a 285-unit mixed-use apartment building with 32,000 square feet of retail space on the western edge of the 5300 block of Baltimore Avenue between the Hyattsville Armory Crossover Church and Hamilton Street.