Md. budget chief to leave for position at Hopkins

Puddester's assistant, T. Eloise Foster, will replace him June 1

May 09, 2000|By Michael Dresser and Michael Hill | Michael Dresser and Michael Hill,SUN STAFF

Maryland budget chief Frederick W. Puddester, one of the most influential members of the Glendening administration, said yesterday that he will leave state government to take a senior post at the Johns Hopkins University.

Puddester, 45, will be replaced as secretary of the Department of Budget and Management by his deputy, T. Eloise Foster, on June 1. Glendening said he was accepting Puddester's resignation reluctantly, calling him "one of our most respected, trusted and competent Cabinet secretaries."

"Fred has demonstrated his skills and expertise under several different governors and in many different capacities, and has served our administration with distinction," Glendening said.

Puddester, who has been secretary since June 1996, said his job as Hopkins' top budget officer will give him "a unique opportunity to work in a world-class organization."

"I've had a good career here, but after 21 years in state government, I've been looking for a new challenge, and working at Hopkins will provide that challenge," he said.

Neither Hopkins nor Puddester, who is paid $126,963 by the state, would say what his salary will be. Puddester said money was a factor in his decision to leave, but not a large one.

He said his departure is not the result of any differences with Glendening. His relationship with the governor has become closer in the past 18 months, he said, making it difficult for him to leave.

In his four years as secretary, Puddester has managed a state budget that has grown from $13 billion to $19 billion. As executive director of budget and financial planning and analysis at Hopkins, he will prepare an annual budget of nearly $2 billion and the university's five-year financial plan.

Puddester has been known for his ability to maintain cordial relations with even Glendening's fiercest Republican critics in the General Assembly.

"He's always been very courteous, very knowledgeable and has been brilliant in helping Governor Glendening spend money as fast as they could shovel it out the door," said House Minority Whip Robert L. Flanagan, a Howard County Republican. "Every year, he was able to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear."

Del. Howard P. Rawlings, House Appropriations Committee chairman, said he had an "outstanding" relationship with Puddester. "Even though it was an adversarial relationship, I never thought we were adversaries," the Baltimore Democrat said.

Foster, like Puddester a career state official, has served in three gubernatorial administrations during the past two decades. Glendening noted that she will be the first black woman to serve as budget chief in Maryland.

Sen. Barbara A. Hoffman, chairwoman of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee, praised the selection. "I don't know anybody who doesn't like Eloise and trust her," the Baltimore Democrat said.

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