ANNAPOLIS -- Gov. William Donald Schaefer's budget ax swung closer to home this week as 11 Executive Department positions were eliminated, including four press office jobs that are currently filled.
The grim pre-Christmas news claimed the jobs of one of three assistant press secretaries to the governor as well as that of an administrative assistant who has worked in the press office under six press secretaries and four governors over a 14-year span.
Frank Traynor, Mr. Schaefer's press secretary since July, said he was trying to run the office the way he would a profit-making business: more efficiently and economically.
Mr. Schaefer had recently been criticized for ordering budget cuts in other agencies while making none in his own.
Among jobs eliminated was the assistant press secretary position held by Ray Feldmann, but Mr. Feldmann had already landed a higher-paying state job as spokesman for the Maryland Port Administration.
Also given a pink slip Monday was Angela Parks, who has worked for the state for 25 years and has been instrumental in keeping the administrative wheels of the press office rolling for the past 14.
She helped get out the governor's weekly schedules and news conference transcripts, assisted in writing and distributing press releases, and provided credentials and a broad array of information to the news media.
Also eliminated as part of the $520,000 cost-savings move was a clerical job held by Fran Gillis in the State House press office, and the public information position in Baltimore held by Joseph Trabert, a former Schaefer City Hall aide and former owner of the Fells Point bar known as Turkey Joe's.
Ms. Parks' dismissal, she said, came as a complete shock. "I never thought about [a job anywhere else]. . . . I loved the press office. I loved the people and the reporters and doing what I do."
She alternated yesterday between tears and projecting a stiff upper lip, saying at least she has some options. She said, "I'll just have to pick myself up, dust myself off, and hit the pavement."