- The Washington Times - Friday, December 29, 2006

BALTIMORE (AP) — Outgoing Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr. has said that he would be interested in temporarily heading the Injured Workers’ Insurance Fund (IWIF) while the agency’s board looks for a permanent president.

Former state Sen. Thomas Bromwell, a Baltimore Democrat who has served as president and chief executive of the state’s largest insurance fund for injured workers since 2002, has agreed to step down at the end of the year.

Mr. Bromwell is due to go to trial March 5 on 30 federal public corruption charges.

Mr. Curran, 75, who has served as attorney general since 1987, did not seek re-election.

His successor — Montgomery County State’s Attorney Douglas M. Gansler, a Democrat — will be sworn in Tuesday.

“As I am leaving in another few days, it is suddenly obvious that Mr. Bromwell is also leaving in another few days, and they may be looking for someone to either fill in temporarily or play a role there while they look for someone who wants to be there long-term,” Mr. Curran told the Baltimore Sun Thursday as he packed his belongings into boxes at his Baltimore office.

“That is something I could be interested in,” he said.

Mr. Curran, a Democrat, would not elaborate on the discussions he’s had about taking the job, but said, “I have had some people express some interest.”

Daniel McKew, chairman of the fund’s board, currently is serving as interim president. He said Thursday that he had not heard about Mr. Curran’s interest and that the nine-member board will meet next month to establish criteria for the job.

The governor appoints the fund’s board members, and the board chooses the president.

“While insurance knowledge and workers’ compensation knowledge is important and high on the list, the main quality that we look for is leadership,” Mr. McKew said.

House Speaker Michael E. Busch, an Anne Arundel County Democrat who was in negotiations to take the position in 2000 but decided to stay in the legislature, told the Sun that he was “not considering the IWIF job.”

Mr. Busch said Mr. Curran could stand in while the board interviews other candidates.

“If the board believes Joe Curran in the interim can give the agency stability and credibility in Annapolis, that may be an appropriate direction to take, but I do think they need to look for a long-term solution for the management of the company,” he said.

Delegate Anthony J. O’Donnell, Calvert County Republican and the incoming House minority leader, said he would like to see “some youthful and innovative new leadership” at IWIF, and “not necessarily someone with a lifetime of political connections.”

Gov.-elect Martin O’Malley, a Democrat, is Mr. Curran’s son-in-law.

Delegate Dereck E. Davis, Prince George’s County Democrat and chairman of the House Economic Matters Committee, said that relationship should not be a factor in whether Mr. Curran is considered to lead the fund.

“For me, that is not an issue at all. If Joe is interested, and he is the selection, I definitely think that is a positive,” Mr. Davis said.

Mr. Curran said he would advise Mr. O’Malley in private when asked.

Meanwhile, he is considering other employment options, including teaching positions at the University of Baltimore and Loyola College. No matter what, he doesn’t plan to retire.

“From setting up pins in a bowling alley, to being a caddy, to newspaper boy, to bank clerk, to the Air Force,” Mr. Curran said, “I have always had a job.”

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