War Memorial group elects new chair, secretary Naming Brandau, Henley follows 3 months of turmoil

September 11, 1998|By Gerard Shields | Gerard Shields,SUN STAFF

The Maryland War Memorial Commission has elected a chairman and hired a director three months after the controversial firing of its former executive director.

The board elected John E. Brandau as chairman of the 10-member panel. The Baltimore-funded commission also changed the name of its top position from executive director to executive secretary and appointed Doug Henley, a Vietnam veteran and former Carroll County hospital worker, to the job.

The moves, made this week at an Annapolis meeting, follow three months of board turmoil over the firing and accusations that the former board chairman misused his office.

In June, Baltimore police escorted former director Cynthia DeLeaver-Coates from her office after the commission personnel committee recommended her termination.

Board members supporting her dismissal complained that the first non-veteran director in its 74-year history opposed a new work schedule, failed to complete her assignments and took too many sick days.

DeLeaver-Coates, however, challenged the firing and demanded back her $35,000-per-year job.

She claims her problems began a year ago when she began questioning actions by the board chairman, W. Russell Brown. DeLeaver-Coates produced material showing that Brown notarized personal loans on commission stationery, solicited donations for events unrelated to the agency and provided a job reference for a former convict on commission stationery.

Brown, who completed his two-year term as chairman on Sunday, denied any wrongdoing. He is expected to remain on the board until his term expires in 2000.

The chief responsibility of the commission, which contains five state-appointed members and five appointed by the city, is to manage the stately commission building at 101 N. Gay St. The building is often used by community groups.

Brandau, 81, is a World War II Navy veteran and Towson haberdashery owner who participated in the D-Day invasion.

Henley, 51, is a Navy veteran and past state commander for the American Legion who maintained the air conditioning system at Springfield Hospital Center in Sykesville.

John Micklos, chairman of the board's publicity commission, said he welcomes the changes as a chance to leave the recent commission turmoil behind.

"I'm really looking forward to improving our relationships and working harmoniously," he said.

Pub Date: 9/11/98

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