Aery to become Mikulski's new chief of staff

January 10, 1996|By David Folkenflik | David Folkenflik,SUN STAFF

Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski has tapped a former state education official to become her next chief of staff, congressional aides said.

Monday, former Maryland Higher Education Secretary Shaila R. Aery will become chief of staff, filling a major hole created by a job shuffle in Ms. Mikulski's office. Dr. Aery, an educator from Oklahoma, will take over from Stephenie Foster, who will become ZTC the top assistant to Ms. Mikulski in her role as secretary to the Democratic Senate Conference, a Mikulski spokeswoman said.

Ms. Foster, in turn, is replacing Kevin Kelly, who leaves Capitol Hill after 11 years to become vice president of Van Scoyoc Associates, a Washington lobbying firm.

Dr. Aery's appointment places an education official with political experience at the helm of Ms. Mikulski's office.

Neither Dr. Aery nor Ms. Mikulski returned telephone messages seeking comment that were left at their homes.

Ms. Mikulski's offices were closed yesterday because of the snow blanketing the Washington area.

Associates said the two women kept in touch on issues affecting universities when Dr. Aery was in the Cabinet of Gov. William Donald Schaefer.

Dr. Aery became the state's first higher education secretary, in 1988, when Maryland's higher education system was reorganized. Until she resigned in June, she was often involved in a political struggle with the University of Maryland System.

When she announced her resignation in February, she cited two policy successes: increasing financial aid available to the state's students, and increasing enrollments by 10,000 at the state's public campuses.

Dr. Aery's resignation cleared the way for Gov. Parris N. Glendening to replace her with a political ally, Patricia S. Florestano.

Dr. Florestano's tenure is expected to usher in a period of greater conciliation between the Maryland Higher Education Commission, which oversees the state's public and private campuses, and the University of Maryland System.

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