ANNAPOLIS -- By this morning, former Montgomery County Delegate Lucille Maurer hoped to be celebrating her re-election to a second four-year term to the influential job of state treasurer.
No other candidates for the $100,000-a-year position appeared to have surfaced. The House of Delegates, which controls the General Assembly's quadrennial selection of a treasurer, seemed strongly in her corner. And what appeared to be the pro forma balloting had been tentatively scheduled for yesterday.
But then Senate President Thomas V. "Mike" Miller Jr., D-Prince George's, slowed down the process.
Mr. Miller insisted -- and House leaders reluctantly agreed yesterday -- that the legislature resurrect a procedure set up four years ago establishing a special committee to interview and recommend candidates for the job.
The 26-member committee was appointed yesterday. It will be co-chaired by Sen. Clarence W. Blount, D-Baltimore, the majority leader of the Senate, and Delegate Nancy K. Kopp, D-Montgomery, the assistant majority leader of the House.
House leaders and Mrs. Maurer alike said they did not know what, if anything, the treasurer had done to offend Senator Miller. Delays in confirmations, reappointments or other seemingly automatic actions are often engineered in the legislature as a way of expressing disapproval of someone's performance, or at least to get the person's attention.
Mr. Miller, however, said he simply thought that the legislature had established a process four years ago and should stick with it. "It's not a coronation; it's an election," he said.
Some House members speculated that Mr. Miller was angry with Mrs. Maurer from an incident two years ago. Pulled in opposite directions by the House and Senate over whether the Board of Public Works should release money to plan a new Senate office building Mr. Miller hoped to build, she sided with the House.
But a senator familiar with Mr. Miller's thinking said he was more concerned that Mrs. Maurer too often sided with Gov. William Donald Schaefer in board actions.
"She's not as responsive to the General Assembly as he would like," the senator said.
In a letter yesterday to all 188 members of the legislature announcing her candidacy, Mrs. Maurer said, "As a member of the board, I have made a particular effort to be responsive to the General Assembly."
House Speaker R. Clayton Mitchell Jr., D-Kent, said Mrs. Maurer had "done a great job" and predicted the House would back her.
Need a job?
Candidates interested in applying for the job of state treasurer should submit resumes or statements of work experience to F. Carvel Payne, director, Department of Legislative Reference, 90 State Circle, Annapolis, Md. 21401. The deadline for applying is 5 p.m. Thursday.
The special joint committee will then interview candidates at 2 p.m. Friday in the Joint Hearing Room of the Legislative Services Building.