Harkins named to two state committees

Ehrlich adds executive to pension, school panels

October 10, 2004|By Ted Shelsby | Ted Shelsby,SUN STAFF

Harford County Executive James M. Harkins has been appointed by Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. to state panels dealing with public education and the state's retirement and pension system.

Announcing Harkins as the newest member of his recently created Governor's Commission on Quality Education, Ehrlich said: "We have committed to a historic funding increase in our public schools, and it is imperative that we continue to identify education models that prepare all students for the next step, whether it is on to college or post-secondary education, or into the work force.

"Jim Harkins is one of the people I need on my team to get this job done."

The governor named the other 30 members of the education commission when he announced its creation two weeks ago. They include five state Cabinet members and people involved in education from Maryland and other parts of the country. Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele is chairman of the commission.

The panel is charged with ensuring that an infusion of state funds into education -- an additional $1.3 billion annually by 2008, under a law passed two years ago -- is spent wisely.

Members of the commission will be traveling throughout the state to hold public hearings on Maryland's K-12 education system.

It is to make a report to the governor by Sept. 1.

Harkins said in a prepared statement that education has been a priority of his administration.

He pointed out that the county is moving ahead with the construction of the $52 million Patterson Mill middle and high school complex near Bel Air without state funding.

He said he commits half of every tax dollar to education.

"I look forward to working with Governor Ehrlich and Lieutenant Governor Steele in helping to identify the best practices that will allow Maryland schools to succeed," Harkins said.

As a member of the State Retirement and Pension System board, Harkins will aim to represent the interests of local government.

The board establishes rules and regulations to administer the several pension systems and manage pension funds.

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