- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 9, 2003

ANNAPOLIS The anticipated showdown between Gov. Parris N. Glendening and Comptroller William Donald Schaefer at their final Board of Public Works meeting together ended with the political heavyweights exchanging gifts instead of barbs.
Mr. Glendening gave Mr. Schaefer a basket of violets at the start of the meeting.
A short while later, Mr. Schaefer, a Democrat, responded by saying: "I'm not going to let him upstage me. I'm going to give him a picture."
Mr. Schaefer then presented an autographed, 8-by-10 glossy photograph of himself to the governor.
"I will keep this," Mr. Glendening, Democrat, said in earnest. "I will treasure it."
The good will lasted throughout the two-hour meeting, during which the governor, comptroller and Treasurer Nancy Kopp decided on requests for state money.
The meetings have recently become political theater as Mr. Schaefer, a past governor, publicly derided Mr. Glendening's performance, especially his handling of the state budget and his spending, which have helped create the $1.3 billion shortfall that Gov.-elect Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., a Republican, will inherit.
This will be the second budget shortfall Mr. Glendening has left a successor. When he went from Prince George's county executive to governor in January 1995, he left a $108 million deficit for incoming Executive Wayne K. Curry.
During earlier public works meetings, Mr. Schaefer called Mr. Glendening "the most fiscally irresponsible governor I've ever known," and the more personal "rabbit brain."
Perhaps they exhausted themselves Tuesday after taking their attacks to the airwaves.
In an appearance on WTOP news radio, Mr. Glendening said that he felt sorry for Mr. Schaefer because he had become a sad, lonely and bitter man.
Mr. Schaefer later called the radio station to make similar comments about Mr. Glendening and said he was a liar and lacked morals.
After the public works meeting yesterday, Mr. Glendening and Mr. Schaefer agreed to a rare joint TV interview. The reporters asked Mr. Schaefer about the governor's radio remarks baiting him to take a final shot at Mr. Glendening.
Mr. Schaefer resisted.
""I said a lot of things about him, too," he said. "But we wound up, which I like, on a very high note."
Said Mr. Glendening: "I really do wish him well."
Mr. Schaefer's dislike for the governor reached a flash point in 2001, when Mr. Glendening turned off the fountain in front of the governor's mansion during the state's worst drought in years.
The fountain, a $169,500 sculpted artwork, was a pet project of the late Hilda Mae Snoops, Mr. Schaefer's official hostess when he lived in the governor's mansion. Mr. Schaefer considered the move a personal affront.
At one Public Works meeting, Mr. Schaefer accused Mr. Glendening of turning off the fountain out of spite. But when Mr. Glendening restarted the fountain late last year, Mr. Schaefer called that "another dirty trick."
Yesterday's ending was especially surprising considering last month's meeting during which Mr. Schaefer said Mr. Glendening left the state broke, then went on a farewell spending spree.

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