Ex-speaker's son gets state position

January 29, 1994|By Marina Sarris | Marina Sarris,Staff Writer

The son of former House of Delegates Speaker R. Clayton Mitchell Jr. has received a political appointment to a $44,000-a-year state job.

Clayton A. Mitchell will take a seat on the Unemployment Insurance Board of Appeals beginning Monday, said Marilyn Corbett, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Department of Economic and Employment Development.

Mr. Mitchell was appointed by the department's chief with the approval of Gov. William Donald Schaefer, an ally of his father. The elder Mr. Mitchell resigned from the state legislature last month. A Democrat, he represented Kent County.

The younger Mr. Mitchell replaces Thomas W. Keech, an attorney who had served two six-year terms and had been the board's chairman.

Mr. Keech said yesterday he had sought a third term on the three-member board, which resolves disputes between workers and businesses over unemployment benefits.

But Secretary of Economic and Employment Development Mark L. Wasserman instead selected Mr. Mitchell. Mr. Wasserman said he was looking for "new blood" and discovered that Mr. Mitchell was looking for work. "I know him slightly" through his father, he said.

Mr. Mitchell has a background in real estate and lives in Kent County, Mr. Wasserman said. Unlike Mr. Keech, Mr. Mitchell is not a lawyer, but the job does not require a law degree, Mr. Wasserman said. Mr. Mitchell's term will expire May 31, 1999. He could not be reached for comment yesterday.

He made the news last spring over allegations he used his father's name to pressure a state official on a private business matter.

Martha Roach, then-executive director of the Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund, said last year that the younger Mr. Mitchell had called her on behalf of a business owned by a family friend and had mentioned his father's name. At the time, then-Speaker Mitchell said his son should not have used his name.

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