- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 16, 2007

ANNAPOLIS (AP) — The ceremony to change governors in Maryland takes less than 30 minutes, but for state employees, the inauguration of a new governor means hours of work updating signs, stationery and Web sites.

Even as Democrat Martin O’Malley takes the oath today, state highway workers will set out to the state lines so motorists entering Maryland will know the governor is Mr. O’Malley, not Republican Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.

For the past few weeks, employees across the state have been scrambling to update Web sites, replace photographs, order new brochures and otherwise ensure that everyone knows there is a new boss in Annapolis. Photographs of Mr. O’Malley and Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown must be hanging in the lobbies of state buildings.

“We’ll need to address the letterhead issue, and we will adjust our Web site and the signage in our 56 managed buildings,” said Dave Humphrey, director of external affairs for the Department of General Services, which oversees state facilities.

The State Highway Administration, which is responsible for printing the state’s official road maps, has printed 200,000 maps with Mr. O’Malley’s photograph. Those maps will last until May, when the department will do a larger printing of 1 million maps.

“The maps are on a schedule for every two years, and we’re bright enough to coincide with the gubernatorial election,” spokeswoman Valerie Edgar told the Baltimore Daily Record.

The highway administration is also in charge of changing the road signs.

“We don’t get out to the edge of the state very often, so we can take advantage if there are any other signs that need to be repaired, or any brush cutting,” Miss Edgar said.

The vast majority of the state’s more than 50,000 employees will keep their jobs, but gubernatorial transitions can still slow work at state agencies.

James T. Brady, a former secretary of the Department of Business and Economic Development, said the first few months of any new administration are a learning period for new department heads and officials.

“There’s a learning curve, and when someone comes in who has not been part of the system, that is a challenge,” Mr. Brady said. “I think it’s incumbent upon someone coming into that position that they understand that some of his or her time will be devoted to getting his or her arms around all of the things the agency is doing.”

Mr. O’Malley is to be sworn in at noon in the Senate chamber, then he will make an inaugural address outside the State House. A parade will follow, featuring high school marching bands from across the state.

Mr. O’Malley and Mr. Brown will receive guests at the governor’s mansion in the afternoon, then they will head to Baltimore for an inaugural ball that includes performances by Kool & the Gang and an Irish rock group.

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