UPPER MARLBORO – The new appointments to the Prince George’s Liquor Board may offer the agency a fresh start after several former members were accused of bribery earlier this year.
County Executive Rushern Baker, III, recently announced he appointed Thomas Graham as chairman, and Eric Bowman, Armando Camacho, Sharon Grayson Kelsey and Ken Miles as commissioners to the Board of License Commissioners, also known as the liquor board.
Because of a state law passed last April, the county executive has the authority to appoint candidates to the liquor board, a responsibility previously reserved for the governor. The appointees must be confirmed by the Prince George’s County Senate Delegation.
Commissioners are nominated for a term of three years and may not be appointed to more than three terms.
The quasi-judicial board administers and enforces the Maryland Alcoholic Beverage Laws and the Rules and Regulations for the Prince George’s County Board of License Commissioners.
Baker said the board “is critical to the economic development and public safety of the county.”
“It is imperative that the residents and businesses of Prince George’s County have faith in the County’s Board of Licenses Commissioners and I have nominated five individuals with incredible experience and integrity to serve on this Board,” Baker said.
Under the new law, each member of the liquor board must have one of the following: legal experience; public safety experience; regulatory experience; and management experience. It also requires geographic, racial and ethnic diversity.
“Looking at those that have been nominated, it looks to me like the county executive took (the need for diversity) very seriously, got people with that type of experience,” State Sen. Jim Rosapepe (D-21) said. “We’re going to look at all five of them and their different backgrounds and experiences, what they bring to the table.”
Graham, a resident of Upper Marlboro, has had a 30-year career with Pepco, most recently as vice president of People Strategy and Human Resources for Pepco Holdings, Inc. He has also served on the board of the Center for Energy Workforce Development, DC Chamber of Commerce, and Maryland Chamber of Commerce. He currently serves as a Director for Prince George’s County Economic Development Corporation.
“I am honored to be nominated as Chair of the Prince George’s County Board of License Commissioners and thank County Executive Baker for this privilege to serve my county,” Graham said. “I look forward to working with the Prince George’s County Senate Delegation through the confirmation process and eventually providing a new era of leadership, integrity and transparency between the Board of License Commissioners and the Prince George’s County residents and business community.”
Bowman is the president of Key Security Solutions and was previously a captain and assistant commander with the Prince George’s County Police Department. He lives in Brandywine.
Camacho, from Laurel, is president and owner of Bud Miller Associates, Inc. He served as a Hungarian linguist with the United States Air Force and is a member of the Police Chief’s Citizen Advisory Council. He has previously been a member of the liquor board.
Grayson Kelsey is an attorney at her own firm in Bowie and lives in Upper Marlboro. She works with the county as the sole counsel to the Department of Social Services Child Abuse and Neglect Appeals Division and volunteers at the Maryland Pro Bono Resource Center and as a mentor through the Maryland Court of Appeals. She is a Maryland licensed real estate broker who owns and operates Kelsey Realty, Inc.
Miles, from Brandywine, is a current member of the liquor board. He is also a computer operations manager for UNITE and has worked with the American Federation of Teachers Maryland as a communications specialist. He also has experience as a lobbyist.
The Prince George’s County Senate Delegation has begun its hearings for these candidates and will decide whether or not to confirm them when the General Assembly convenes in January.
Rosapepe hopes the new requirements and process for appointing members to the liquor board will shield it from corruption.
“(We) try to make the system as professional and balanced as possible, try to protect against it,” Rosapepe said. “We’re optimistic and hopeful it’s going to work.”
Two former members of Prince George’s County Liquor Board were charged with bribery earlier this year after the FBI raided the agency’s offices.
Former executive director and commissioner David Dae Sok Son plead guilty to conspiracy, bribery and obstruction of justice last month, and former commissioner Anuj Sud was indicted on two counts of bribery in August.