City senators still lack nominee for liquor post Appointment: A third commissioner is needed for Baltimore's liquor panel.

The Political Game

February 18, 1997|By William F. Zorzi Jr. | William F. Zorzi Jr.,SUN STAFF

In the you-can't-make-this-stuff-up department, the saga of the Baltimore City liquor board continues.

Hannah Byron, Gov. Parris N. Glendening's Princess of Patronage, delivered to the Senate on Friday the list of "greenbag" appointments for state boards and commissions.

But conspicuously absent from the list of names for appointments to the Baltimore liquor board was the city senators' recommendation to replace George G. Brown, the chairman.

The name of Sarah Louise Matthews, the senators' most recent nominee for the board, was nowhere to be found.

As expected, the names of William A. "Pete" Welch, 43, son of city Councilwoman Agnes B. Welch, and Leonard R. Skolnik, 60, a retired apartment manager, were sent down to the Senate as replacements for the two other members whose terms expire in May.

But the name for the third liquor commissioner's slot -- part-time jobs that pay $18,000 a year -- was not on the list.

Matthews' "application was incomplete," and her name didn't make the list in time to be sent to the Senate, explained Byron, Glendening's appointments secretary.

Matthews, a 45-year-old Democrat and community activist from Bolton Hill who ran unsuccessfully for a 2nd District City Council seat in 1995, withdrew her name yesterday from consideration, sources close to the senators said.

Neither Matthews nor Sen. Ralph M. Hughes, her sponsor, could be reached late yesterday.

The senators, however, have begun their search for a new third commissioner.

Initially, the city senators -- who control the appointments to the liquor board -- sent Brown's name to the governor for reappointment.

Brown, however, infuriated the senators by refusing to bless their nominee, former state Sen. Nathan C. Irby Jr., to the $59,000-a-year job of executive secretary, and then by pushing for a 24.3 percent salary increase for the deputy secretary, Jane M. Schroeder.

Sen. Nathaniel J. McFadden, chairman of the city Senate delegation, called for a "clean sweep" of the board, saying that the three members had shown a contemptuous level of "disrespect" for his senatorial colleagues.

With nothing left to lose, the board has gone renegade on the senators -- and still has yet to hire Irby to fill in as executive secretary at least until the new commissioners take over.

Bickering behind the scenes at Clinton's speech

President Clinton's address to the Maryland General Assembly last week was surrounded by what seemed like a veritable Democratic love fest among legislative leaders and Gov. Parris N. Glendening.

The charismatic Clinton even wowed some of the hardest-line Republicans in the legislature.

But just beneath the surface lay a little political tension between the legislative and executive branches -- minor feuding that had been brewing all weekend before Clinton's arrival Monday.

House Speaker Casper R. Taylor Jr. and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller worked closely with Glendening's staffers to make the historic visit -- which was understandably fraught with logistical problems -- a smooth one.

The limited seating in the House of Delegates chamber -- the larger of the two chambers where the Senate assembles for a joint legislative session -- caused some consternation.

Some of the bigger sticking points seemed to center on who would be allowed in the House -- and who wouldn't -- and how many seats each Glendening, Taylor and Miller would have available for guests in the galleries above the chamber.

The biggest question, however, was who would introduce Clinton for what would be the first time a sitting president addressed the General Assembly.

Glendening invited Clinton; so his people thought the governor should do the introducing. Taylor, however, presides over the House, and many believed he should do the introducing.

Although Miller lords over the upper house, the Senate president was the odd man out in this equation, since protocol is clear as to his role in the House of Delegates: the speaker takes the lead.

In the end, it was protocol, based mainly on the concept of the separation of powers, that prevailed. Glendening, after what sounded like a mini-State-of-the-State address, offered VTC less-than-rousing introduction of the speaker of the House.

And, after an extended round of thunderous applause, it was Taylor who wound up saying: "Ladies and gentlemen, it is my high honor and special privilege to present to you the president of the United States, William Jefferson Clinton."

Pub Date: 2/18/97

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