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Baker Takes Office As Pr. George's County Executive

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In Maryland, Prince George's County has a new county executive, who didn't waste any time on his first day putting his imprint on county government.

Rushern Baker took the oath of office on a blustery day in front of the County Administration Building, with his predecessor Jack Johnson's federal indictment last month still on the minds of many. In his inaugural address, Baker said he welcomed the challenge of entering office at this time.

"You see positive and forward-thinking people view challenges not as problems, but as an opportunity for change. And we are those people in Prince George's County, and we will prevail," Baker says.

He wasted no time getting to work, as he followed through on promises to make wholesale changes to county departments.

Both Police Chief Roberto Hylton and Fire Chief Eugene Jones are out -- moves Baker had intimated he would make as inauguration day neared.

Hylton's ouster seemed a foregone conclusion following the arrests of three police officers in the same federal probe that led to the indictment of Jack Johnson.

Johnson was on stage as Baker took office because earlier in the ceremony his wife, Leslie, also indicted in the same investigation, took her seat on the county council. She received hearty applause, though there were a noticeable smattering of boos. Her husband stood by her side as she took the oath of office, the only time he was mentioned by name during the ceremony, even though three previous county executives were acknowledged.

The Johnson's are both due in court next week.


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