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County Executive Baker Selects Robin Barnes-Shell as Acting Executive Director of Prince George’s County Office of Ethics and Accountability

Upper Marlboro, MD: Today, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III, announced the selection of Robin Barnes-Shell as the Acting Executive Director of the newly created Prince George’s County Office of Ethics and Accountability.  Established by Prince George’s County Council Bill 64-2012, the Office of Ethics and Accountability will be an independent office operating as the main entry point for tip information or evidence of illegal acts or unethical conduct by employees of Prince George’s County Government. The mission of the Office of Ethics and Accountability will be to ensure that the Prince George’s County Government operates at the highest level of ethical conduct and that there is a dedicated office to investigate reports. Ms. Barnes-Shell, who will serve as Acting Executive Director of the new ethics office, must be confirmed by the Prince George’s County Council before she can formally assume the role of Executive Director.

“The opening of our new Office of Ethics and Accountability is an important step forward for Prince George’s County.  I knew that this office would need a leader with experience building a concept or idea into a reality and that is why I tapped Robin Barnes-Shell to serve as Acting Executive Director,” said County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III.  “Ms. Barnes-Shell has years of experience in the public sector starting up new offices and establishing procedures.  With her experience and knowledge, I am confident that she will create an effective and efficient office that will ensure our government and its employees are held to the highest ethical standards of conduct and accountability.  Like CountyStat, CountyClick 311, the Transforming Neighborhoods Initiative (TNI) and our newly created Department of Pemitting, Inspections, and Enforcement (DPIE), the Office of Ethics and Accountability is another component in my administration’s quest to transform this government so that it better serves the people of Prince George’s County and improves their quality of life.”   

Ms. Barnes-Shell’s role as Acting Executive Director is to build and staff the Office of Ethics and Accountability, to include investigators who would compile relevant information (interview witnesses, review documents, etc.) regarding any possible acts of unethical conduct or illegal acts.  This information would be reviewed by Ms. Barnes-Shell to determine if such acts represent criminal conduct, are covered by existing personnel law, are instances where policies and procedures should be changed, or if no violation of law or policy occurred.  Furthermore, the Office of Ethics and Accountability will be responsible for educating and training Prince George’s County employees about the rules, policies, and processes around ethics and accountability.

For instances involving criminal conduct, the State’s Attorney’s Office would then proceed to file any possible criminal charges after their own investigation.  Additionally, the Office of Ethics and Accountability will eventually administer a tip line that will enable callers to discreetly register any information regarding possible unethical acts committed by employees of the County government. 


Robin Barnes-Shell is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center where she earned a J.D.  She has dedicated her career to ensuring due process compliance and equitable conflict resolution.  Ms. Barnes-Shell recently served in the Prince George’s County Public Schools System from 2008 to 2012.  She served as the Coordinator for the Office of Constituent Services where she developed the school system’s administrative procedure and processes to provide accountability and address constituent concerns in an equitable and timely manner.  Prior to starting up Constituent Services, Ms. Barnes-Shell served in the Office of Appeals, providing oversight of student discipline hearings to ensure due process compliance.  She also served as a hearing officer for employee discipline appeals.  As the Superintendent’s Designee, she rendered determinations on transfer, homeless, residency, and tuition waiver appeals.

Ms. Barnes-Shell established the Office of the Ombudsman in the Howard County Public School System and served as Deputy General Counsel for NeighborWorks America (formerly, Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation).  She has worked in private practice, providing legal counsel in Maryland and the District of Columbia.  Her community service has included serving as a volunteer ombudsman for military service member complaints and as a mediator for the District Court of Maryland.   Ms. Barnes-Shell has lived in Prince George’s County for over 23 years.