- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 9, 2005

ANNAPOLIS — A key Republican lawmaker yesterday chided state Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. for calling Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. a “crybaby” after the governor on Monday criticized an investigation of his administration’s firings of state workers.

“I think it is unfortunate that President Miller stooped to calling the governor a ‘crybaby,’” said Senate Minority Leader J. Lowell Stoltzfus, Eastern Shore Republican. “We have to work together, not call each other names.”

Ehrlich spokeswoman Shareese N. DeLeaver said the administration expects Mr. Miller to provide “a more formal response that goes beyond name-calling.”

“The governor lays out four pages of legitimate complaints … and the response is to call the governor names?” she said.

Mr. Miller, Prince George’s County Democrat, did not return a call seeking comment.

He lashed out at Mr. Ehrlich, a Republican, in response to the governor’s letter to Democratic leaders in which he raised concerns about the objectivity of the 12-member Special Committee on State Employee Rights and Protections.

“[T]he purpose [of the probe] is becoming clear: to unfairly harass this administration,” Mr. Ehrlich said in the letter. “We have endured months of unfounded attacks by you and your colleagues in the legislature.

“This is an orchestrated campaign, being led by partisan political opponents, misstating and ignoring facts, attempting to challenge the ethical and legal integrity of the Ehrlich Administration,” he noted.

The governor renewed his call for “biased legislators” to be removed from the special committee, which consists of eight Democrats and four Republicans appointed by Mr. Miller and House Speaker Michael E. Busch, Anne Arundel County Democrat. He did not name any biased lawmakers.

The Washington Times reported June 29 that two Democrats on the investigative committee expressed opinions about the legality of the administration’s actions before the committee had even convened.

Sen. Brian E. Frosh, Montgomery Democrat, was quoted as saying, “The stuff the Ehrlich administration has done is illegal.”

Sen. Paula Colodny Hollinger, Baltimore County Democrat, was quoted as saying the firings were “against the law.”

Sen. Thomas McLain Middleton, Charles County Democrat and co-chairman of the committee, has opposed replacing Mr. Frosh and Mrs. Hollinger regardless of their convictions going into the investigation — the General Assembly’s first on someone outside the legislature in more than 25 years.

Mr. Stoltzfus, who is a member of the special committee, has threatened to withdraw the Republicans from the panel if the investigation becomes an attack on the governor.

“We are not pulling out yet,” he said Monday. “We’ll meet and see what happens and try and be fair. … It doesn’t look good at this point, but we will see what happens.”

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