Register of wills won't release transcripts

Questions arise over how official attended classes

July 20, 1999|By Gerard Shields | Gerard Shields,SUN STAFF

Mayoral candidate Mary W. Conaway refused yesterday to release her college transcripts to resolve questions over how she attended a Washington seminary full time while working as register of wills.

Conaway, 56, received a master of divinity degree from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, which she attended full time from 1988 to 1991.

First elected register of wills in 1982, Conaway said she completed the courses at night and on weekends at the school, which is an hour from her downtown Baltimore office.

Conaway's comments, however, countered statements made Friday by the seminary's recruitment director, Chip Aldridge, who said completing the hefty master's program was not possible at night.

When asked by The Sun yesterday for access to her college transcripts to clear up the matter, Conaway declined.

"I'm not doing that," she said. "It's not worth all that. I have a degree."

Questions about Conaway's degree arose after she said this month that if elected mayor, she would slash city departments because some city workers do nothing. An anonymous tip to The Sun claimed that Conaway earned her degree when she was expected to be in her office. One professor at the school said Conaway could have completed most of the classes at night.

Conaway, 56, manages an office with a $20 million budget and about 45 employees. She supervises the handling of estates and wills for deceased Baltimore residents, collects inheritance taxes and serves as clerk to Baltimore's Orphans' Court.

Conaway said yesterday that as register of wills, she is often out of the office holding seminars for seniors about estate planning.

She often stays in touch with department supervisors while handling duties outside the office, she said. She said her office is run efficiently.

"What it all boils down to is that the register of wills isn't expected to sit in the office," she said. "My employees are very capable. I don't have to be in my office every day."

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