William Donald Schaefer
Date of birth: Nov. 2, 1921
Party affiliation: Democrat
Professional background: Comptroller of Maryland, 1999-present; governor of Maryland, 1987-1995; mayor of Baltimore, 1971-1986; president, Baltimore City Council, 1967-1971; member, Baltimore City Council, 1955-1971.
Education: Master of Law, University of Baltimore School of Law; recipient of 15 honorary degrees.
If you were faced with a choice between supporting an unpalatable increase in the state property tax and protecting Maryland's AAA bond rating, as Board of Public Works members were in 2003, how would you vote? If faced with the same set of circumstances as in 2003, yes, I would vote to increase the state property tax. In that year, Maryland was faced with a severe budgetary shortfall. It is essential that we preserve the state's AAA bond rating. I will always do what is necessary in order to protect it.
As a member of the state pension board of trustees, would you support the investment of retirement funds to achieve social or economic development goals? My responsibility as chairman of the board of trustees is that of a fiduciary. As such, I and each trustee must, and do, invest retirement funds solely in the interest of the participants and beneficiaries. We invest retirement funds prudently and in a diversified manner. At the same time, where good, sound investments can also produce collateral economic benefits to the state of Maryland, I have and will continue to support such investments. There are such investments in the state retirement portfolio at present, investments which I advocated and which have performed well.
What changes do you believe need to be made in the operation of the comptroller's office over the next four years?
The Office of the Comptroller of Maryland is one of the best-run, most effective and efficient agencies in state government. It is recognized as such both within Maryland and by our national peers. Still, I have never been one to be satisfied with the status quo and continually push my team to seek ways to improve how we serve the people of Maryland. At the outset of each of my terms in office, I have appointed a private sector team of individuals and have asked them to evaluate the agency to identify ways we can improve. I will do so again.