The scandal surrounding the Maryland State Games, which received some $1 million in state funds, raises troubling questions about the stewardship of health secretary Adele Wilzack. Charges from legislators of "blatant mismanagement," "rampant nepotism" and "abuse of funds" will be hard to rebut. This could become a big embarrassment for the Schaefer administration.
While it is commendable that Ms. Wilzack acted swiftly to straighten out this situation once problems surfaced, it does not explain why she strongly supported this program for two years when the objectives of the Maryland State Games -- holding an annual amateur competition and trying to lure the U.S. Olympic Festival to Maryland -- are far removed from her department's activities.
Ms. Wilzack staunchly defended this program before the General Assembly when a legislative analyst urged that the program be killed. She said the program promoted "fitness and health through sports" and would guide youths to "lifestyles without drugs." That was her way of explaining why money intended for drug-abuse programs was diverted into the Maryland State Games.