State Digest

STATE DIGEST

December 21, 2006

Foster to be named to Md. budget post, Gov.-elect Martin O'Malley is scheduled to announce today his nomination of T. Eloise Foster to head the state Department of Budget and Management, a critical position for the incoming administration as it grapples with how to close projected budget shortfalls of more than $1 billion in coming years, a source familiar with the transition said.

Foster was state budget secretary from 2000 to 2003 under the administration of former Gov. Parris N. Glendening, and had been deputy secretary of the agency for four years before that.

An Annapolis veteran, she joined the nonpartisan staff of the Department of Fiscal Services, which analyzes budgets and legislation for the General Assembly, in 1978. Former Gov. William Donald Schaefer tapped her to be part of his legislative lobbying team in 1987. Foster has been reviewing budget issues for the O'Malley transition.

If confirmed by the state Senate, Foster is in line to become the third member of Glendening's executive team to reprise their roles in the O'Malley administration. This week, the governor-elect named John D. Porcari as nominee to regain the job of transportation secretary. And Glendening's chief legislative officer, Joseph Bryce, is returning to that position under O'Malley.

Foster gave damaging testimony during the 2004 trial of Nathan A. Chapman Jr., who was convicted of defrauding the Maryland state pension system of almost $5 million in an alleged scheme under which he instructed a money manager who worked for him to buy shares in the public offerings of Chapman's companies. The stocks later tanked.

As budget chief, Foster was a member of the board of trustees of the state Pension and Retirement System. She testified that Glendening's former chief of staff, Major Riddick, urged her to encourage members of the state pension board to give more money for Chapman to invest. Foster said she did so, and asked the governor to personally call members of the pension board who were skeptical of Chapman's investment performance and urge them to send more business to minority-owned firms such as Chapman's.

Hagerstown

Boy, 5, accused of sex harassment

A 5-year-old boy sexually harassed a kindergarten classmate by pinching her buttocks, Washington County public school officials said.

The boy's father, who received a written notice about the incident, says he's at a loss to explain to his son what sexual harassment means.

"He knows nothing about sex," Charles Vallance told The Herald-Mail of Hagerstown in an article published yesterday. "There's no way to explain what he's been written up for. He knows it as playing around. He doesn't know it as anything sexual at all."

But school system spokeswoman Carol Mowen said the pinching episode in a Lincolnshire Elementary School hallway Dec. 8 fits the State Department of Education's definition of sexual harassment as "unwelcome sexual advances, request for sexual favors and/or other inappropriate verbal, written or physical conduct of a sexual nature directed toward others."

Mowen called the reprimand a learning opportunity.

"It's important to understand a child may not realize that what he or she is doing may be considered sexual harassment, but if it fits under the definition, then it is, under the state's guidelines," Mowen said. "If someone has been told this person does not want this type of touching, it doesn't matter if it's at work or at school, that's sexual harassment."

Associated Press

Democrats

Lierman re-elected as chairman

Terry Lierman was re-elected chairman of the Maryland Democratic Party this week after helping the party recapture the governor's mansion and build its lead in the state House of Delegates.

"Governor Howard Dean implemented the DNC's successful 50-state strategy, and the results are evident," Lierman said in a statement. "We mirrored that effort with our `no county left behind' approach, and while the local vote counts showed it was a success, we will be bolder where Democrats have struggled and work harder to build our numbers in every jurisdiction in Maryland."

The party recruited more than 13,800 volunteers for get-out-the-vote efforts this year, Lierman said, and developed an "election protection program" that logged 600 Election Day incidents.

A slate of executive officers was elected along with Lierman. Lauren Dugas Glover, a community leader from Prince George's County, is the first vice chairman; and Shawn Z. Tarrant, a delegate-elect from Baltimore is second vice chairman.

Gene M. Ransom III, a Queen Anne's County commissioner, becomes secretary; and Sarah Flynn, president of Anne Arundel County's District 30 Democratic Club, will be deputy secretary.

Ken Banks was re-elected as treasurer, and Robert J. Kresslein was re-elected deputy treasurer.

Staff reports

Harford County

Hooper recovering after surgery

State Sen. J. Robert Hooper, a Republican from Harford County, suffered a minor heart attack over the weekend and was taken to Union Memorial Hospital yesterday for surgery, according to his son and a county councilman. Hooper, 70, is recovering from cancer and was hospitalized after experiencing pressure in his chest over the weekend. An aide in his Bel Air district office said he was "doing good" and would return home today.

Justin Fenton

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