Governor names Knapp to head state personnel

January 25, 1995|By Marina Sarris | Marina Sarris,Sun Staff Writer

Gov. Parris N. Glendening has chosen former aide Michael J. Knapp to head the state personnel department.

Mr. Knapp, the former Prince George's County personnel director, will oversee the pay, recruitment and training of more than 60,000 government employees.

While aides to Mr. Glendening declined to comment on Mr. Knapp's new position, administration sources said his nomination would be among several announced in Annapolis today.

Mr. Glendening also has selected Hannah Byron, a former transportation official for North Carolina, as his appointments secretary. Mrs. Byron, who is a daughter-in-law of former U.S. Rep. Beverly B. Byron, worked for the Glendening election campaign.

Mr. Knapp is a former police officer who was active in the Fraternal Order of Police. He has a law degree and worked as a deputy labor commissioner for Prince George's County before becoming the county's personnel officer.

His nomination must be confirmed by the state Senate before it becomes final, but approval is usually considered to be a formality. If confirmed, he will replace Joseph Adler, a former labor union official who became personnel secretary less than a year ago.

The department made headlines in late 1993 when employees and state legislators learned that departmental leadership was pushing a program to raise employees' health insurance premiums by as much as 500 percent in some cases.

Former Gov. William Donald Schaefer was so angry he transferred responsibility for employee insurance from personnel secretary Hilda E. Ford to his budget secretary, who developed a less expensive program.

The department has a $12.7 million budget and 215 employees.

Mrs. Byron, 38, is taking over an office that traditionally has been responsible for handing out political patronage jobs, such as appointments to various state boards and commissions.

However, Mr. Glendening is expected to change the job's functions.

Mrs. Byron, who has already started as appointments secretary, previously worked for the North Carolina transportation department under governors James B. Hunt Jr. and James G. Martin. She began as a legislative liaison and later became the director of federal transportation programs for that state.

Neither Mrs. Byron nor Mr. Knapp could be reached for comment.

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