- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 26, 2003

ANNAPOLIS (AP) Former state Sen. Clarence Mitchell IV, a Democrat who crossed party lines to endorse Republican Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s gubernatorial campaign, has resigned a plum appointment in the Ehrlich administration.
Shareese N. DeLeaver, a spokeswoman for the governor, said Monday that Mr. Mitchell gave up the $92,049-a-year job because of "philosophical incompatibility" with Victor Hoskins, the Baltimore real estate developer appointed by Mr. Ehrlich to be secretary of the Department of Housing and Community Development.
Miss DeLeaver would not say what the differences were. But she said the resignation was not brought about by criticism of the governor's decision to appoint Mr. Mitchell, a black Democrat who was reprimanded by the state Senate a year ago and was defeated in the September primary election.
Mr. Mitchell endorsed Mr. Ehrlich after being defeated in the primary in his Baltimore district by Delegate Verna Jones. He campaigned with Mr. Ehrlich and was an active member of Democrats for Ehrlich.
The Senate reprimanded Mr. Mitchell for "bringing dishonor" to himself and the General Assembly by accepting a loan in 1997 that was a breach of ethical conduct.
Mr. Ehrlich had appointed Mr. Mitchell as head of an Office of Urban Development that he plans to create in the housing department.
When the appointment was announced this month, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., Prince George's County Democrat, said the Senate would scrutinize Mr. Mitchell's appointment, even though it did not require Senate confirmation. He also said the Senate would hold hearings on whether the new office is needed and whether Mr. Mitchell deserved the proposed salary.
Miss DeLeaver said Mr. Ehrlich will not abandon his plans to establish the new office to coordinate state programs that help with development in Baltimore and other urban areas.
"The position was not created particularly for Clarence Mitchell IV. It was the opinion of the experts in the Department of Housing and Community Development that there was a need for the position," she said.
Mr. Mitchell's resignation came hours before Mr. Hoskins appeared at a Senate Executive Nominations Committee confirmation hearing on his appointment.
Miss DeLeaver said there was no pressure from Democrats to force Mr. Mitchell to resign.


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