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Montgomery County's Entire Planning Board Resigns Amid Workplace Misconduct Scandal

The Montgomery County Planning Board at its Oct. 6 meeting.

All five members of the board that approves developments and master plans in Montgomery County — a wealthy D.C. suburb with a population over 1 million — have stepped down amid an escalating scandal.

The members of the Montgomery County Planning Board all resigned, and the Montgomery County Council announced Wednesday it accepted their resignations effective immediately. 

The council voted unanimously in a closed session Tuesday to ask the board members to resign, The Washington Post reported. The council said it would select temporary acting members Oct. 25.

“The Council has lost confidence in the Montgomery County Planning Board and accepted these resignations to reset operations," County Council President Gabe Albornoz said in a statement.

The Planning Board has been mired in controversy in recent weeks as details of workplace misconduct have emerged.

The council docked four weeks of pay from Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson last week after an investigation revealed he kept and shared alcohol with other board members in his government office, the Post reported. The council also received a complaint alleging Anderson used misogynistic language in the workplace, sparking another investigation, according to the Post. 

Friday, the Planning Board voted to remove longtime Planning Director Gwen Wright just three months before she was set to retire, DCist reported. The board didn't give a reason for Wright's firing, and the council then expanded its investigation to include the circumstances around Wright's firing, the Post reported. 

The Planning Board has a massive amount of influence over development in the county, as it approves individual projects and shapes long-term land use plans. Last year it passed the first full overhaul of the county's guiding land use plan since 1964, an effort aimed at adding more walkable, mixed-use development and spurring more growth in the less developed eastern part of the county. The council has yet to give final approval to the plan. 

The board also manages the county's park system and historic designation process, according to the Post. The chair is a full-time role that pays more than $200K, while the remaining board members hold part-time positions.