State Briefs

February 17, 2005

Port administrator won't be removed, Ehrlich says

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. said yesterday that he is not considering the removal of James J. White as administrator of the port of Baltimore, saying "rumblings" of discontent with his performance were incorrect.

Ehrlich made the explicit denial at a meeting of the Board of Public Works, where Comptroller William Donald Schaefer pressed him about a report in The Sun that three lawmakers had raised concern that White might be forced out.

"That's incorrect. I make the decision ... ," Ehrlich said. "It is not even under consideration."

The concerns were raised by three Dundalk Democrats. White has led the Maryland Port Administration through six years during which the port has seen growth in business.

State board agrees to pay $2 million to contractor

The state Board of Public Works agreed yesterday to pay $2 million to a contracting company that is the subject of a federal inquiry into its use of minority contractors in the construction of a $46 million juvenile justice center in Baltimore.

Poole and Kent Co. had claimed it was owed $8 million for work on the project, and the state paid $2 million to settle all claims, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. said. The state is seeking some reimbursement from the architects who designed the center, Ehrlich said.

A federal grand jury has been investigating the company and its relationship with former Baltimore County state Sen. Thomas L. Bromwell, now the head of the Injured Workers Insurance Fund. Bromwell's wife is listed in state records as a salaried employee of a company used by Poole and Kent as a minority subcontractor on the juvenile justice center.

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