Knapp and Stegman confirmed by Senate

March 01, 1995|By Peter Jensen | Peter Jensen,Sun Staff Writer

With a minimum of debate, the state Senate handed Parris N. Glendening his first significant victory as governor yesterday, approving two controversial Cabinet nominees with ties to the Prince George's County pension program.

The Senate voted to approve Michael J. Knapp as personnel secretary on a 28-19 vote. Six Democrats, including Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., joined 13 of the chamber's 15 Republicans in opposition to the nominee.

Frank W. Stegman was confirmed as secretary of labor, licensing and regulation on a 29-18 vote. The only difference in the tally: Sen. Edward J. Kasemeyer, a Howard County Democrat who voted against Mr. Knapp, chose to endorse Mr. Stegman.

The votes took less than 10 minutes, providing an anticlimactic end to weeks of lobbying and behind-the-scenes negotiation. Only Minority Leader John A. Cade spoke against the two nominees on the floor, calling them unqualified "muldoons" and political "soldiers" who carried out orders benefiting a select few.

"They left Prince George's County in financial and organizational shambles," said Mr. Cade, an Anne Arundel Republican. "In the selection of Cabinet members, the governor has a responsibility to himself, the General Assembly and the people to set a higher standard."

Mr. Knapp, a former Prince George's County personnel officer, and Mr. Stegman, the county's labor commissioner, helped to set up the generous early pension program that benefited the governor and three top aides after they were "involuntary separated" from county service.

Mr. Knapp was one of the aides who qualified for the early pension, although he and the two others have said they will forfeit benefits until they leave state service. Mr. Glendening has said he will forgo the special benefits entirely.

The governor issued a statement yesterday saying he was pleased by the "clear, strong majority" decision. He praised the Senate for understanding "the depth of the qualifications and professional experience" of the nominees."

"Senate members were able to fully understand the issues that faced the county during the recession and why the actions were taken," Mr. Glendening said.

Mr. Knapp said he was "definitely relieved that it's over and thankful for the result." He and Mr. Stegman endured a five-hour hearing Friday before the Senate Executive Nominations Committee.

"It's difficult for anyone to be under such intense scrutiny, particularly for actions they took several years ago," he said. "I think I'll be a better person for it and certainly more cautious."

Senate President Miller said his no votes reflected many of the same concerns expressed by Mr. Cade. Mr. Glendening, he said, should have looked beyond Prince George's County when he chose to fill two important positions.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Thomas L. Bromwell, a Baltimore County Democrat who also opposed the nominees, said the lack of floor debate was simply the result of a recognition that votes could not be swayed. There was no point, he said, in castigating the choices.

"When you smell blood in the water, you go for it, and nobody smelled blood today," Mr. Bromwell said.

Republicans said the nominees were never a partisan issue, but state GOP leaders said they think voters will remember today's votes in four years.

"Not one Democrat stood on the floor to defend them," noted Maryland Republican Party Chairwoman Joyce L. Terhes. "They know what the public sentiment is out there."

The governor's intensive lobbying blitz probably spared him the embarrassment of losing two Cabinet nominations, but he had another ally in the debate: the belief held by many legislators that he deserved to name his own staff.

HOW SENATORS VOTED

The Maryland Senate voted yesterday to approve the nominations of Michael J. Knapp to be personnel secretary and Frank W. Stegman to be secretary of labor, licensing and regulation. The two roll calls were identical except for the votes of Howard County Democrat Edward J. Kasemeyer. He voted against Mr. Knapp and for Mr. Stegman.

VOTING FOR:

Amoss, William H., D-Harford

Baker, Walter M., D-Cecil

Blount, Clarence W., D-Baltimore

Collins, Michael J., D-Balto. Co.

Currie, Ulysses, D-Pr. George's

Della, George W. Jr., D-Baltimore

Forehand, Jennie M., D-Montgomery

Frosh, Brian E., D-Montgomery

Green, Leo E., D-Pr. George's

Hafer, John, R-Allegany

Hoffman, Barbara A., D-Baltimore

Hollinger, Paula C., D-Balto. Co.

Hughes, Ralph M., D-Baltimore

Jimeno, Philip, D-Anne Arundel

Kelley, Delores G., D-Balto. Co.

Lawlah, Gloria, D-Pr. George's

McFadden, Nathaniel J., D-Baltimore

Middlebrooks, Edward, R-Anne Arundel

Middleton, Thomas M., D-Charles

Pica, John A. Jr., D-Baltimore

Pinsky, Paul G., D-Pr. George's

Ruben, Ida G., D-Montgomery

Sfikas, Perry, D-Baltimore

Stone, Norman R., D-Balto. Co.

Teitlebaum, Leonard H., D-Montgomery

Trotter, Decatur, D-Pr. George's

Van Hollen, Christopher, D-Montgomery

Young, Larry, D-Baltimore

VOTING AGAINST:

Astle, John C., D-Anne Arundel

Boozer, F. Vernon, R-Balto. Co.

Bromwell, Thomas L., D-Balto. Co.

Cade, John A., R-Anne Arundel

Colburn, Richard, R-Dorchester

Craig, David, R-Harford

Derr, John W., R-Frederick

Dorman, Arthur, D-Pr. George's

Dyson, Roy, D-St. Mary's

Ferguson, Timothy R., R-Carroll

Haines, Larry E., R-Carroll

Hogan, Patrick J., R-Montgomery

Kasemeyer, Edward J., D-Howard

Madden, Martin G., R-Howard

McCabe, Christopher, R-Howard

Miller, Thomas V. Mike Jr., D-Pr. George's

Munson, Donald F., R-Washington

Roesser, Jean W., R-Montgomery

Stoltzfus, J. Lowell, R-Somerset

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.