Gov. William Donald Schaefer today announced that Mark Wasserman, a longtime aide and favorite son who has worked with Schaefer since 1976, will succeed J. Randall Evans as Maryland's secretary of economic and employment development.
Wasserman, 41, will take over the department's top position when Evans, another longtime Schaefer associate, leaves his post August 31.
The governor also announced that state agriculture secretary Wayne A. Cawley Jr., who has worked under several governors, is leaving his cabinet seat and will become a "$1-a-year" special adviser to the governor on such issues as agriculture and the environment.
Agriculture deputy secretary Robert L. Walker will move into Cawley's seat, Schaefer said.
The governor announced his cabinet changes at a State House press conference today in Annapolis.
Schaefer said Wasserman, a Baltimore native with a planning degree from the University of Maryland, has worked hard for his administration and "deserves much more credit than I've ever given him."
Wasserman, who earns about $80,000 as the governor's top aide, will be paid about $108,000 a year as head of the DEED.
Paul E. Schurick, a former Schaefer press secretary who left to become a special assistant under the governor, will succeed Wasserman, Schaefer said.
Wasserman joined the Schaefer team in 1976 as executive assistant to the mayor. He spent five years as Schaefer's development coordinator and took a year off in 1986 to help Schaefer's campaign for governor.
"This is a real natural transition for me," Wasserman said today.
As the governor's top aide, Wasserman is a member of Schaefer's tight inner circle and is privy to most of the behind-the-scenes decisions made by the Schaefer administration.
Wasserman said he plans to carry on with the economic priorities outlined by Schaefer -- such as boosting Maryland's role in technological development and international trade -- but he plans to study Evan's style of running DEED before implementing any new departmental policies of his own.
"I need to be quiet and learn a lot," he said.
Evans, who held several positions in the Baltimore Department of Housing and Community Development when Schaefer was mayor, will become vice president for corridor development at CSX Transportation Inc. He has served as a cabinet secretary for 4 1/2 years.
In his new position, Evans, 44, will be responsible for developing new commuter-rail and light-rail lines for CSX. CSX Transportation and its 36,000 employees provide railroad service over an 18,800-mile network in 20 states, the District of Columbia and Ontario, Canada.