Robinson listed as stable after brain surgery Weekend operation is termed a success

May 11, 1993|By John W. Frece | John W. Frece,Staff Writer

Bishop L. Robinson, Maryland's secretary of public safety and correctional services for the past six years, was recovering at Mercy Medical Center yesterday after undergoing brain surgery over the weekend.

Mr. Robinson was "alert, eating, and looking forward to resuming all his activities," according to a statement released by the Baltimore hospital. He was listed in stable condition.

After suffering from headaches, the 66-year-old Cabinet secretary was admitted to Mercy on Friday evening for tests. He underwent surgery Saturday to remove a blood clot from the surface of the brain. His neurosurgeon, Dr. B. Theo Mellion, characterized the operation as successful.

Mr. Robinson announced last month he will be leaving his state post by early June to begin a new job as director of security for Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Gov. William Donald Schaefer, who visited Mr. Robinson in the hospital on Sunday, has yet to pick a successor.

Sources within the administration, however, say he plans to name Juvenile Services Secretary Mary Ann Saar to the post.

Ms. Saar, a former prosecutor and longtime aide to Mr. Schaefer, was unavailable for comment yesterday.

If named to the post, Ms. Saar would become only the sixth woman in the nation to head a state corrections department, said Dennis Baugh of the American Correctional Association.

Women also head the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the corrections agency in New York City.

The $108,000-a-year Maryland job involves much more than prisons. The secretary also is responsible for the state police, the State Fire Marshal, the Division of Parole and Probation, and the Division of Pretrial Detention and Services, which includes the Baltimore City Detention Center.

After serving as a deputy state's attorney in Baltimore, Ms. Saar joined then-Mayor Schaefer's staff in 1983 as his coordinator on criminal justice matters. After his election as governor, she became his appointments secretary, then his criminal justice coordinator. In September 1991, she became secretary of Juvenile Services.

"I've been impressed with her," said Del. Norman H. Conway, D-Wicomico, who chairs an Appropriations subcommittee that oversees the juvenile services and public safety budgets. But he said he would be sorry to see Ms. Saar leave Juvenile Services "just when she's getting to that point where she's beginning to make a little bit of difference."

The public safety appointment is one of several Mr. Schaefer is expected to make within the next few weeks.

He also is interviewing candidates for the position of state Insurance Commissioner, which has been vacant since he fired John A. Donaho last month.

Administration officials confirmed that Mr. Schaefer has interviewed "three or four" applicants, including Dwight K. Bartlett III of Anne Arundel County, a former chief actuary for the Social Security Administration.

His name was first made public by the Washington Post.

Mr. Bartlett, 62, now a part-time consultant to insurance companies, acknowledged yesterday that he has interviewed for the job, but called media reports about him "premature."

"The governor hasn't offered it to me and I haven't decided, even if he offers it, whether I'll accept it," he said. News reports, he said, "are embarrassing to me, embarrassing to the governor, and embarrassing to whoever gets the job if I don't."

The state's next insurance commissioner will serve a new, one-time-only four-year term designed to attract candidates to a position that otherwise might expire when the Schaefer administration leaves office in January 1995.

The next commissioner also will preside over a suddenly independent and beefed up insurance division that the General Assembly separated from the Department of Licensing and Regulation, and which next year will receive nearly $5 million in fees from the insurance industry to strengthen its regulatory functions.

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