Schaefer gave friends 11th-hour appointments

January 21, 1995|By John W. Frece and Marina Sarris | John W. Frece and Marina Sarris,Sun Staff Writers

Before leaving office this week, William Donald Schaefer took care of his friends.

In one of his last acts as governor, he quietly repaid the loyalty of assistant press secretary Welford L. McLellan by appointing the former journalist to the Maryland Parole Commission, a job that pays $62,117 a year.

He named chief of staff Paul E. Schurick to a $25,700-a-year, part-time position on the Maryland Tax Court.

Mary Ann Saar, his secretary for Juvenile Services, landed a $69,521-a-year job on the state Board of Contract Appeals.

Mr. Schaefer gave appointments to his appointments secretary, to former aides from his days as Baltimore's mayor, to an Eastern Shore mayor who has been a longtime friend and to the mayor's wife.

Staff members, confidants, financial backers and an assortment of legislators who were defeated for re-election last year all found their way onto various boards and commissions during the last two months. In some cases, the appointments were made in Mr. Schaefer's last two days in office.

Some of these appointments can be changed by Mr. Schaefer's successor, Parris N. Glendening, but others cannot. Not all of the jobs are paid.

"Schaefer is not doing anything other governors have not done," said state Sen. Larry Young, a Baltimore Democrat who chairs the Senate's Executive Nominations Committee.

"This is not unusual in American politics," agreed John T. Willis, a political adviser to Mr. Glendening. "They will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, but every state has this dynamic."

Many of the appointees, such as Mr. McLellan and Ms. Saar, must be confirmed by the state Senate. Until that happens, their names could be withdrawn and replaced by Mr. Glendening, who said yesterday that he intends to review all appointments and is sure he will reject some of them.

"Several of the names on there are actually quite good people and we may end up appointing them," Mr. Glendening said, but he added that "some names on there are totally unacceptable."

Some Schaefer appointments might be difficult to undo.

Those appointments that do not require Senate confirmation, such as that of Mr. Schurick, will stick for the duration of the appointed term, said Assistant Attorney General Robert A. Zarnoch.

Robert A. Pascal, the former Anne Arundel County executive who served as both patronage chief and adviser to Mr. Schaefer, was given the green light to appoint himself to not just one job but two: an unpaid seat, through June, on the Maryland Stadium Authority, and a second job with the State Roads Commission that pays $5,485 a year, plus mileage to meetings and health benefits.

The Stadium Authority job requires Senate confirmation; the Roads Commission job does not.

Two of the governor's big-time financial backers, H&S Bakery owner John Paterakis and lumber company executive Louis J. Grasmick, got jobs, too: Mr. Paterakis, an unpaid seat on the state Aviation Commission; Mr. Grasmick, a post on the Maryland Transportation Commission, which pays a stipend of $75 a meeting.

Mr. Pascal, the appointments chief, said yesterday that the nominees were qualified and had experience in government or the private sector, and that Mr. Schaefer had an obligation to fill vacancies before leaving office. "I make no apologies for it. We're putting people in slots who can make a contribution," including himself, Mr. Pascal said.

One of the most unexpected nominations was that of Mr. McLellan to the Parole Commission.

A commissioner is required to have training and experience in law, sociology, psychology, psychiatry, education, social work or criminology. It was unclear yesterday how Mr. McLellan met that qualification because his experience has been primarily in public relations and journalism.

Mr. McLellan could not be reached for comment yesterday, and the state public safety department refused to release his resume. As for his qualifications, Mr. Pascal said, "That's a judgment that the Senate is going to have to make."

Also tapped by the governor on his way out the door:

* Dr. James A. D'Orta, a physician who had chaired a medical commission for Mr. Schaefer, to an unpaid job on the state Racing Commission. Dr. D'Orta said his family has been involved in the horse racing industry on the West Coast.

* Longtime Chestertown Mayor Elmer E. Horsey, for years the host of a gala crab feast in Mr. Schaefer's honor, to a job on the State Roads Commission, and his wife, Patricia Joan O. Horsey, to an unsalaried job on the Maryland Public Broadcasting Commission.

* Former Sens. Patricia Sher of Montgomery County and Nancy L. Murphy of Baltimore County and former Del. George H. Littrell Jr. of Frederick -- losers all in last year's elections -- were given transportation or roads commission jobs as consolation prizes.

* Christopher C. Hartman, a former aide to then-Mayor Schaefer, to the Transportation Commission. He replaces Alvin Akman, brother-in-law to Schaefer antagonist (and recent lieutenant governor) Melvin A. Steinberg.

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. said he was "somewhat shocked" at the "midnight appointments" because he thought the outgoing and incoming administrations had been working so well together.

"It seemed an untoward and unseemly ploy," said Mr. Miller, who has introduced legislation that would limit the appointment power of lame-duck governors -- legislation that Mr. Glendening said he may support, even though that one day such a law would limit his own power.

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