Schaefer begins Cabinet cleanup General Services chief is reportedly dimissed

November 27, 1990|By Thomas W. Waldron and William Thompson | Thomas W. Waldron and William Thompson,Evening Sun Staff

Gov. William Donald Schaefer has begun reshaping his Cabinet for his second term by forcing the departure of Earl F. Seboda, the long-time secretary of the Department of General Services, according to a well-placed source in Annapolis.

Seboda, 52, has run the Department of General Services since 1983 and was a holdover from the Cabinet of Schaefer's predecessor, Harry R. Hughes.

Two weeks ago Schaefer ordered his entire Cabinet and hundreds of top appointed officials to submit letters of resignation immediately. Seboda's resignation is now being accepted, the source said. It is expected that Schaefer will retain most of his other top officials.

Seboda will be the second Cabinet secretary to leave as Schaefer prepares to start his second four-year term as governor. Transportation Secretary Richard H. Trainor resigned two weeks ago, but that decision apparently was made before Schaefer issued his request for resignations.

Yesterday Seboda declined to confirm or deny the report of his departure. He said only that Cabinet members have been instructed not to discuss publicly their job status with the Schaefer administration.

Paul E. Schurick, the governor's press secretary, also refused comment.

Mark L. Wasserman, the governor's top aide, informed Seboda last Wednesday that he was being dismissed, the source said. Seboda, however, had been discussing his departure from the administration with key members of Schaefer's staff over a period of time, the source said.

It is expected that Seboda, whose annual salary is $84,200, will announce that he is retiring from his state position.

Martin W. Walsh Jr., Schaefer's secretary of the Department of the Environment, may move over to general services to succeed Seboda, according to sources. Walsh is an engineer and has a long background in the field.

Schaefer could not be reached for comment. He participated in closed-door budget talks yesterday with a number of high state officials, including Seboda.

As general services secretary, Seboda oversees many state building projects, maintains state-owned buildings and handles the state's leasing of properties. He has a seemingly encyclopedic knowledge of state buildings, from parking lots to roofs, which he has displayed at meetings of the Board of Public Works.

Seboda's tenure also has been marked by controversy. Legislators and others have criticized his department for long-running problems at the Eastern Correctional Institution, the new prison in Somerset County. A malfunctioning power plant at the prison so infuriated Schaefer that he called in experts from private industry to trouble-shoot. The governor later transferred the unit responsible for building state prisons out of Seboda's department and into the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.

Seboda's department also supervised a problem-plagued study to identify which state buildings contain asbestos.

Seboda, a graduate of the University of Maryland, is a trained mechanical engineer. He worked in engineering positions for the state government between 1968 and 1977, when he became assistant secretary of the Department of General Services. Hughes named him as secretary in 1983. His departure leaves only three holdovers, out of 13, remaining from Hughes' Cabinet.

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