New office taking shape

Brown, Tyler to lead team to recruit, set O'Malley's agenda


November 10, 2006|By John Fritze | John Fritze,Sun reporter

In the first step toward shaping his new administration, Gov.-elect Martin O'Malley announced yesterday that two of his closest allies - including his running mate - will lead a transition team to attract and review resumes and develop a legislative agenda for his first year in office.

Lt. Gov.-elect Anthony G. Brown will chair the transition committee, which could ultimately include 12 to 15 members, and City Solicitor Ralph S. Tyler, as executive director, will handle the day-to-day operations of the transition.

"We are looking forward to a very broadly inclusive transition effort that will reflect the diversity of our state," O'Malley said yesterday at City Hall. "What we are going to be doing over the course of these next weeks is recruiting the best people we can possibly find to serve the best interests of all Marylanders."

O'Malley, who won the election Tuesday with more than 53 percent of the vote, offered few specifics of who will be on the transition team or who will receive positions in his administration. He did announce the creation of an Internet site - www.marylandtransition .com - through which candidates may send resumes.

Other members of the transition team will be named in the next week or two, O'Malley said.

A key theme of O'Malley's platform was hiring competent and professional state employees, a theme that was directed, in large part, at the state's Public Service Commission. The only personnel shift that O'Malley did confirm was hardly a surprise - that PSC Chairman Kenneth D. Schisler, a longtime O'Malley target, will be out.

The PSC became a campaign issue this year when Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. - which for years was required to cap the price of electricity - proposed a 72 percent rate increase. The regulatory body approved the increase, which led to a special session of the General Assembly.

Tyler, who has been with O'Malley for more than two years, is a former Maryland deputy attorney general who led the legal effort to stop the rate increase. Many believe Tyler, a key aide to O'Malley's city administration, will be offered a top position in Annapolis.

"What I'm going to do is everything I can to help the lieutenant governor-elect to build the strongest possible government for the O'Malley-Brown administration," Tyler said yesterday.

O'Malley denied that his administration would necessarily replace Republican staff hired by Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. Democrats in the General Assembly accused Ehrlich of firing employees based on political affiliations and created a committee to investigate his personnel practices. The committee released its report a month before the election.

Ehrlich Chief of Staff James C. "Chip" DiPaula Jr., who is heading the transition for the governor, said he has spoken with Brown and pledged to be fully cooperative with the incoming administration on the budget and other matters.

"We want to help them get off to a strong start," DiPaula said.

Asked repeatedly about the fate of state schools Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick, O'Malley demurred. Asked whether he had spoken with Grasmick, he said: "I haven't had any conversations with her for about a year and a half."

The two have tussled, especially this year. The governor, however, does not directly appoint the superintendent. The state school board names that position, and the governor appoints the board.

In addition to naming individuals to the state's top positions, the transition team will also develop the framework of a legislative agenda.

"This is the beginning of a real opportunity to begin assembling the O'Malley-Brown administration as we search for the most competent and capable men and women," Brown said.

Sun reporter Andrew A. Green contributed to this article.

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