THIS REPORT BY BRAD BELL OF WJLA NEWS:
CHARLES COUNTY, Md. (7News) — A bombshell came early in Tuesday’s meeting of the Charles County Commissioners.
Commissioner Gilbert Bowling revealed that one of the five members is under censure for discrimination against a county employee.
“Just so the public knows, we have a sitting county commissioner that’s been censured and I think the public needs to know that,” Bowling said.
Bowling didn’t name the person, but as the contentious meeting dragged on, more details emerged of an outside investigation and a report.
County Attorney Wes Adams revealed an independent attorney’s findings and the board’s response.
“She concluded a commissioner engaged in discriminatory behavior against an employee of the county,” Adams said.
“The remedial action, taken because a commissioner cannot be removed or impeached, was to prohibit that commissioner’s ability to impact any personnel decisions pertaining to that employee.”
Multiple sources tell 7News the censured commissioner is Thomasina Coates, who is a person of color, and the employee is County Administrator Mark Belton who is white.
Activist Deron Tross said the episode gives the county a black eye.
“This commissioner used their government email and said some pretty horrible things. Racist? Yes. We were just given the honor of being called the richest African-American county and now we have this.”
A plan by a majority of the board to fire Belton yesterday was derailed by the discrimination finding against the board member.
According to someone close to what happened behind closed doors, Belton has been put on administrative leave and the whole matter is heading to court.