- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 14, 2003

ANNAPOLIS The list of people given jobs by Gov. Parris N. Glendening in the final days of his administration include political allies, friends and a former student from Mr. Glendening's days as a college professor.
Though Gov.-elect Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. has said little about the 13 appointments winnowed from Mr. Glendening's original proposal to award 150 jobs yesterday he publicly questioned the appointment of former state Sen. Michael J. Collins, who was expected to win Senate confirmation last night.
Mr. Ehrlich said Mr. Collins, a retired high school teacher and longtime Democratic legislator from Baltimore County, was perhaps not the right person to serve on the Board of Contract Appeals.
"I have a lot of concerns, but it is a done deal," Mr. Ehrlich, a Republican, told The Washington Times.
Mr. Collins, who gave up his Senate seat this year, will make $97,344 to resolve bid and contract disputes between the state and contractors or vendors.
Mr. Glendening, a Democrat, struck a deal with Republican lawmakers to win confirmation yesterday for Mr. Collins and 12 other last-minute appointments. Three of the appointees will earn more than $100,000 a year, three will earn close to a $100,000 and the other seven will hold key positions that will shape the future of Maryland's higher education.
Senate Republicans said they approved the appointments to avoid a partisan showdown before Mr. Ehrlich's inauguration tomorrow, when he becomes the state's first Republican governor in 34 years.
The deal was orchestrated by Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., Southern Maryland Democrat.
Among the 13 appointments was Maureen Quinn, a lawyer and live-in girlfriend of House Majority Leader Kumar P. Barve, Montgomery County Democrat. She will make more than $100,000 a year as a member of the state's workers' compensation commission.
Sen. Philip C. Jimeno, chairman of the Executive Nominations Committee, said Mr. Ehrlich and his transition team were informed about the nominees, but raised no objections.
"Quite frankly, some of these we wanted to get out of the way before Governor Ehrlich gets in," said Mr. Jimeno, Anne Arundel Democrat. He said each nominee was appropriate for the appointment.
Some Senate Republicans questioned the qualifications of the nominees, including Miss Quinn, but said they remained silent out of respect for the Republican leadership that struck the deal.
Senate Minority Leader J. Lowell Stoltzfus, who serves on the nominations committee, said Republicans could have played "hardball" and held up the nominations. But they agreed to compromise to avoid a contentious start for Mr. Ehrlich.
"I don't want to fight right now," said Mr. Stoltzfus, Eastern Shore Republican. "I want to go into this inaugural week without giving Mr. Ehrlich some cloud to work under."
Mr. Collins was one of three former state legislators included in the last-minute appointments.
Former state Sen. Perry Sfikas, Baltimore Democrat, who was a faithful supporter of Mr. Glendening, will earn $81,000 a year as a member of the Maryland Parole Commission.
Former Delegate Thomas E. Dewberry, Baltimore County Democrat, will earn $101,000 overseeing the Office of Administrative Hearings, which resolves complaints filed against state agencies.
"President Miller made it clear that former [General Assembly] members were priorities," Mr. Ehrlich told The Times.
Robert B. Harrison III, a lawyer, was appointed to a $97,344-a-year job on the Maryland State Board of Contract Appeals.
Judge Albert Willis Northrop, a Democrat who just lost his bid for re-election as orphans court judge in Prince George's County, was appointed to the county's district court. He will earn $111,500 as a district court judge.
The remaining seven appointees will work on boards and commissions that steer the state's higher-education system.
The jobs include no salaries, but members are eligible for travel reimbursement and other job-related expenses.
Joann A. Boughman, an executive with the American Society of Human Genetics, and Ben Mason, executive director of the Baltimore Chamber of Commerce, were appointed to the Maryland Higher Education Commission.
Ashika Severin was appointed to the Morgan State University Board of Regents.
Joseph Andrew Canter, Thomas B. Finan Jr., Patricia S. Florestano and Orlan M. Johnson were appointed to the University System of Maryland Board of Regents.
Mr. Finan is a business and investment consultant who has served on the board since 1995.
Miss Florestano was a student of Mr. Glendening when he taught at the University of Maryland's College Park campus.
She was the state's secretary of higher education under Mr. Glendening for the past five years and retired from that position in July.
Mr. Johnson, 40, of Mitchellville, is a D.C. lawyer with the Wall Street-based international law firm of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley and McCloy. He is also an adjunct professor at Howard University, where he received his law degree in 1987.
The appointments are the latest friction between Mr. Ehrlich and Mr. Glendening.
The Ehrlich transition team has said little publicly, but officials acknowledged they were told to put a "happy face" on the situation.
Mr. Glendening also has come up short on his promise to erase a $500 million deficit in this year's budget before Mr. Ehrlich took office.
Mr. Glendening has trimmed about $175 million.
Mr. Ehrlich will inherit a more than $300 million deficit to correct in the budget year ending June 30 and a $1.3 billion shortfall to erase in the next budget year. Mr. Ehrlich's budget proposal for the next fiscal year is due in three days.
"He's doing what pleases him," Mr. Ehrlich said of Mr. Glendening's final days.

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