Robinson to remain as state public safety chief

June 17, 1993|By John W. Frece | John W. Frece,Staff Writer Staff writer Marina Sarris contributed to this article.

Maryland public safety chief Bishop L. Robinson, who underwent brain surgery last month, has decided to stay in his state job rather than accept a previously announced appointment as security chief for the Johns Hopkins Hospital, state and hospital officials announced yesterday.

Mr. Robinson, a 66-year-old former Baltimore police commissioner whose department is responsible for the prison system and the state police, said in April that he intended to quit this month to take the higher-paying job at Hopkins.

But five days after undergoing surgery May 8 to remove a blood clot from the surface of his brain, he informed Gov. William Donald Schaefer he was considering staying in his state job. He said he did not want to decide until he was more fully recovered. The unexpected move left hospital and state officials unable to fill either job.

Juvenile Services Secretary Mary Ann Saar, whom Mr. Schaefer had planned to name as Mr. Robinson's replacement, has been serving as acting secretary.

Yesterday, Mr. Robinson returned to his job as secretary of public safety and correctional services, and the governor's press office put out a release saying he was back to stay.

"Bishop Robinson has directed Maryland's public safety efforts with strength, innovation and compassion," Governor Schaefer, who is in Europe, was quoted as saying. "I am happy he will continue working with us to ensure a safer Maryland.

The statement quoted Mr. Robinson as saying he looked forward to "continuing my services to the people of Maryland," but gave no indication of the reason for his change of heart. Mr. Robinson could not be reached.

In the same statement, Dr. B. Theo Mellion, the Mercy Medical Center neurosurgeon who performed the surgery, characterized Mr. Robinson's operation as successful and said that he should not suffer any temporary or permanent disability.

Correction department spokesman Leonard A. Sipes Jr. said that Mr. Robinson's decision to stay with the state was unrelated to his health. "The doctor gave him the green light to continue. To my knowledge, there are no remaining health issues whatsoever," Mr. Sipes said.

Others familiar with the secretary's decision said that, given his age and the suddenness and seriousness of his illness, Mr. Robinson felt it was better to stay in the $108,000-a-year job he has held for nearly seven years rather than embark on a new task at Hopkins.

Dr. James A. Block, Hopkins Health System president and chief executive officer, and Dr. Michael E. Johns, dean of the medical school, said they will reopen their search for a security chief "immediately."

The hospital has been looking for a high-profile security chief since a doctor was kidnapped there last year.

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