Judge tells ex-staffers for Ehrlich to respond

2 refused to testify when questioned at legislative hearing

October 05, 2007|By Jennifer Skalka | Jennifer Skalka,Sun reporter

A Baltimore County Circuit judge said this week that two one-time staffers of former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. must answer questions that they declined to respond to when they testified before a legislative committee investigating the then-governor's personnel practices.

During a heated hearing last year, Craig B. Chesek and Gregory J. Maddalone refused to answer questions about the terminations of state workers in their departments.

Maddalone also declined to reveal who paid their legal bills, the only point that Judge Thomas J. Bollinger said in his ruling Tuesday that Maddalone could keep confidential.

"I consider it a victory," said Del. Adrienne A. Jones, the Baltimore County Democrat who co-chaired the legislative committee. "The judge granted everything we asked."

A lawyer for Chesek and Maddalone could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Maddalone is an ice dancer who Democrats asserted was not qualified to serve as an emergency response manger at the Department of Transportation. During his testimony in May last year, Maddalone said he helped facilitate five firings at the Maryland Transit Authority. He and Chesek, who served as operations manager at the Public Service Commission, were dispatched to agencies to target workers to be fired, the committee concluded.

The legislative committee, which has been disbanded, spent more than a year examining Ehrlich's hiring and firing practices, an attempt to determine if terminations in the Republican administration had been politically motivated. It concluded that employees were fired "based on political considerations in violation of constitutional rights and state law" and called for stronger protections for state workers.

Republicans decried the effort as an election-year smear campaign. They said that the workers served at the governor's pleasure and could be fired at Ehrlich's discretion at any time.


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