Ex-PSC member gets new position

Boutin to serve as hearings judge

March 31, 2007|By Jennifer Skalka | Jennifer Skalka,Sun reporter

Charles R. Boutin, the beleaguered Public Service Commission member who resigned last month, has been tapped to be an administrative law judge with the Office of Administrative Hearings.

Boutin, a Republican member of the House of Delegates between 1999 and 2005, starts work April 4, according to J. Bernard McClellan, an administrative law judge and the organization's deputy director for quality assurance.

McClellan said that Boutin was selected by Chief Administrative Law Judge Thomas E. Dewberry, a former colleague of Boutin's in the House. Both also worked for the PSC; Dewberry was a senior hearing examiner.

The administrative law judge position, considered a special appointment in the state employment system, brings Boutin job security. He can be removed, suspended or demoted only by Dewberry.

Neither Dewberry nor Boutin - both graduates of the University of Baltimore School of Law - returned calls for comment.

The Office of Administrative Hearings was created by the legislature in 1990 to centralize the process for conducting reviews of state agency activities. The office provides a hearing process for Maryland businesses and residents who do not agree with state government actions.

Boutin, who was appointed to the PSC by former Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., will be paid between $66,024 and $106,013, according to McClellan.

McClellan would not answer questions about the interview or hiring process.

Administrative Law Judge Wayne Brooks, who said he is often involved in the hiring process, said the organization typically submits notices about job openings to local papers, bar bulletins and minority bar bulletins. He said a hiring committee of five people then vets applications and conducts interviews. A short list of finalists is then provided to the chief judge.

Brooks said that as far as he knows, the opening filled by Boutin was not posted. When asked if Boutin was interviewed for the job, he said: "I don't recall."

Boutin, 65, resigned in February from the PSC, which was sharply criticized by Democrats last year for its handling of a BGE rate increase.

jennifer.skalka@baltsun.com

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