Newly elected Prince George's County Councilwoman Leslie Johnson took the oath of office Monday morning, even as charges of tampering and destruction of evidence continue to loom large in the future of both her and her husband, outgoing County Executive Jack Johnson.
There was a mixture of boos and applause as their names were announced on stage. Jack Johnson held the Bible as Leslie Johnson repeated the oath.
"It is my honor and privilege to have taken the oath and it is my honor and privilege to serve the residents of District 6 as well as wider Prince George's County," Leslie Johnson said. "We have already begun the hard work, and I look forward to continuing to work and serve the citizens."
New County Executive Rushern Baker, who also was sworn in Monday, pledged a more open and transparent government during his inaugural address and said his aim is to make Prince George's County "first in integrity," the Associated Press reported.
He replaces Jack Johnson, who's been indicted on corruption charges. Johnson and his wife were led away from their home in handcuffs last month, accused of tampering with evidence of possible bribes from developers.
Some say Leslie Johnson taking office is another blow to the county.
"I have been elected unanimously, and that is it," Leslie Johnson said. "They have spoken."
"She's constitutionally allowed to be sworn in, but should she have? I believe not," said former Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening.
Baker is a lawyer and former state delegate who ran against Jack Johnson in 2002 and 2006. He said he wants to improve transparency in county government and end its "pay for play" political culture.
Baker told The Associated Press in a preinaugural interview that he expects quite a bit of turnover in county government. He says the reputation of Prince George's has taken a hit in recent weeks but that people view it as a place with a lot of potential.