Schaefer to name Arnick to state post Former legislator lost judgeship

July 22, 1993|By Thomas W. Waldron and Marina Sarris | Thomas W. Waldron and Marina Sarris,Staff Writers

Former Del. John S. Arnick, whose nomination to a judgeship crumbled this year after he was accused of making vulgar and sexist remarks to women lobbyists, will soon take a state job thanks to Gov. William Donald Schaefer.

Mr. Schaefer said yesterday that he recently lined up a job for Mr. Arnick, whom he praised as a loyal ally and legislative friend.

"I like John. When I needed some help in the legislature, he said OK."

The governor said he felt sorry for Mr. Arnick, who resigned from the General Assembly in expectation of becoming a judge. A 22-year veteran of the House of Delegates, Mr. Arnick was chairman of the powerful House Judiciary Committee and had earlier served as House Majority Leader.

"He'd given up everything," Mr. Schaefer said. "He's the only judge who had been rejected."

One of the governor's top aides, Nancy J. Nowak, was the recipient of Mr. Arnick's alleged sexist remarks, along with lobbyist Judith A. Wolfer. The women said Mr. Arnick made the comments during a 1992 dinner meeting with them at an Annapolis restaurant. Mr. Arnick said he did not remember the incident.

Mr. Schaefer said the job he has in mind deals with contracts and would not require Mr. Arnick to interact with the public. The governor said he could not be more specific.

He referred a Sun reporter to his appointments secretary, Robert A. Pascal, for more information on the job.

Mr. Pascal, however, remained mum. "I haven't talked to the governor, so I don't have any comment," he said.

Mr. Arnick said yesterday that he had yet to receive a formal job offer from Mr. Schaefer but that he had recently discussed several possibilities with aides to the governor.

"There are a couple things I'd like to do," Mr. Arnick said. "This has been a trying experience."

Page W. Boinest, the governor's press secretary, said she could not shed any light on the job either.

The governor nominated Mr. Arnick to a seat on the Baltimore County District Court in early January. As was the custom, Mr. Arnick began serving as a judge even before being confirmed by the state Senate.

His nomination exploded in controversy a month later when Ms. Wolfer told a legislative committee that Mr. Arnick had delivered a vulgar tirade against women during a lobbying session at an Annapolis restaurant. She said he also told racist jokes.

Ms. Nowak later confirmed that account.

Many citizens deluged their senators with phone calls urging them to reject Mr. Arnick. Meanwhile, his supporters, including the governor, lawmakers, some Dundalk residents and lobbyists, waged an increasingly uphill battle to save the nomination.

Ten days later, after the Senate delayed a vote on his confirmation, a bitter Mr. Arnick withdrew his name from consideration.

Having already resigned from the legislature, Mr. Arnick returned to practicing law in Dundalk. There was immediate speculation, however, that Mr. Schaefer would find him a job in his administration.

The governor said many legislators had urged him to give Mr. Arnick a job in his administration. It was important, though, that the job not require Mr. Arnick to go through the Senate confirmation process again, Mr. Schaefer said.

"I didn't want to put him through that," Mr. Schaefer said. "I didn't want to put the legislators through that."

Senate leaders have made it clear to Schaefer administration officials that Mr. Arnick does not have enough support in the 47-member Senate to be confirmed, according to sources.

Ms. Wolfer, who practices law in Takoma Park, said Mr. Arnick should not be disqualified from all state government jobs. She reserved further comment until it was clear what job Mr. Arnick will take.

Mr. Schaefer said yesterday he didn't doubt that Mr. Arnick had said the things he was accused of saying. But, the governor added, "I think he would have been a fair judge. I don't think he would have been obnoxious to women or to anybody."

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