Maurer steps down State treasurer: Always thinking of what's best for Maryland, she gives up pivotal post.

January 08, 1996

IT HAD TO BE the most agonizing decision of her long public career. Yet when the time came, Lucille D. Maurer decided to do what was best for Maryland: She resigned as state treasurer because a recurring illness made it impossible for her to give the job the intense scrutiny and fiscal prowess it requires.

This was typical of Mrs. Maurer. She always thought in broader terms than her colleagues. While in the legislature, she resisted narrow, parochial positions in favor of a broader, statewide perspective. If that meant an education aid formula (devised and named for her) that gave more money to impoverished Baltimore City than her own Montgomery County, so be it. Lucy Maurer did what was right, not what was politically expedient.

In the end, her insistence on acting as a state legislator cost her. When she ran for the Senate, after 18 years in the House, she was trounced and denounced for daring to help poorer jurisdictions instead of demanding more for affluent Montgomery.

But she had the last laugh, getting her former colleagues to elect her twice as state treasurer, where she invested state funds and represented the General Assembly on the three-member Board of Public Works.

Mrs. Maurer's fiscal and legislative background served her well. She helped educate then-Gov. William Donald Schaefer on the finer points of state policy and often acted as a calming mediator. She always did what she thought was right for the state.

Now that illness has forced her to relinquish her post, Mrs. Maurer can concentrate on rehabilitation. The pressures of her job would have made a rapid recovery difficult. As for finding a replacement, lawmakers are gravitating toward three-term Del. Richard N. Dixon of Carroll County. He would be a good choice -- a stock broker by profession, a fiscal conservative who has competently chaired pension and audit committees, a black delegate who resists the urge to play the race card.

The Baltimore region ought to be represented on the Board of Public Works. At the moment, all three members hail from the southern part of the state. Mr. Dixon's inclusion would give the board better geographic balance and assure the legislature of a spokesman who understands their concerns. Most of all, Mr. Dixon would bring to the job many of the same skills as did Lucy Maurer -- absolute integrity, broad financial expertise and deep concern for the welfare of this state.

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