Ex-state Sen. Schafer gets anti-drug job

December 19, 1996|By Scott Wilson | Scott Wilson,SUN STAFF

Anne Arundel health officials selected former Democratic state Sen. H. Erle Schafer yesterday for a $35,000-a-year contract position supervising a new county drug program.

Schafer will manage a $183,000 state grant awarded to Anne Arundel's Health Department this year through the county's Criminal Justice Coordinating Council. The Drug Intervention Project, as the program is known, has a scheduled one-year life but could be extended through 1999.

A former clerk of the Anne Arundel County Circuit Court who supervised the county's first urban renewal program, Schafer was chosen over another finalist for the administrative post. Two weeks of interviews trimmed the 12-candidate field.

Schafer, 58, has been in Anne Arundel politics for more than two decades. He left elected office in 1990 after serving on the Anne Arundel County Council, in the state Senate and as court clerk for 12 years.

In addition, Schafer has been a financial supporter of Republican County Executive John G. Gary and is a close friend of County Attorney Phillip F. Scheibe, who is chairman of the coordinating council.

Frances B. Phillips, the county health officer who appointed Schafer on the recommendation of a six-member selection panel, said experience was the deciding factor.

"The position involves a great deal of coordinating in two fields, substance-abuse treatment and the criminal justice system," Phillips said.

Last year, Anne Arundel Detention Center officials estimated that 80 percent of the inmates there were serving time for drug-related convictions. County prosecutors say 85 percent of their cases involve drugs.

The new program involves screening minor offenders for placement in counseling programs rather than sending them to jail. County health officials had said they were looking for someone with legal and administrative experience.

Pub Date: 12/19/96

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