Maryland Digest


July 16, 2008

Secretary of state to be named

Gov. Martin O'Malley is appointing a secretary of state, a position that hasn't been filled since the governor took office about 18 months ago, an official with knowledge of the appointment by the administration said yesterday.

John McDonough, a Prince George's County attorney, is to be appointed today in Annapolis, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the formal announcement had not been made.

The secretary of state job is the only Cabinet position O'Malley has yet to fill.

Associated Press

Prince George's

Grand jurors at jail where inmate died

A Prince George's County grand jury toured a jail where a man was found dead in his cell after being charged in the death of a county police officer.

The grand jury, which meets Tuesdays, then took a bus to the Prince George's County Corrections Center in Upper Marlboro.

The grand jurors spent three hours there.

While at the jail yesterday, the jury toured the maximum-security wing where Ronnie White, 19, was found strangled June 29, a day after he was charged with first-degree murder in the hit-and-run death of Cpl. Richard Findley.

Associated Press

Montgomery Co.

Domestic worker measure approved

Montgomery County lawmakers unanimously approved legislation yesterday to require residents to negotiate a written employment contract spelling out working conditions for domestic workers.

County officials believe the measure - aimed at ensuring that domestic workers receive fair wages, overtime and other protections - is the first of its kind nationwide. Advocates said it represents a significant step for an often vulnerable population, many of them immigrant women unaware of their basic rights.

"It sends a very strong message to Montgomery County and the entire nation that they care about domestic workers," said Gustavo Torres, executive director of immigrant advocacy group Casa de Maryland.

Under the legislation, employers would offer and sign a written contract with housekeepers, cooks and nannies who work at least 20 hours a week over 30 days or more in their home. The contract would specify such issues as duties, time off, pay and severance. A worker can opt not to sign a contract and still take the job - but the employer would need to provide a waiver signed by an employee to show the contract was presented and declined.

All employers must provide "live-in" help a separate sleeping room with a lock, and reasonable access to a kitchen, bathroom and laundry.

The county's new measure would not apply to close family members of the employer, certain nursing professionals, au pairs and companions to elderly or disabled people who are not employed by an agency.

The bill is to go to County Executive Isiah Leggett on Friday. If he signs it, it would go into effect in six months. The county's Office of Consumer Protection would enforce the measure.

Associated Press

Contractor suffers serious burns

A contractor suffered serious burns yesterday after fumes from a chemical he was using ignited at a home in Rockville.

Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service spokesman Pete Piringer said the 45-year-old man had serious burns to his upper body and face. Firefighters were called to the Rockville house about 3:10 p.m.

Piringer said the man was refinishing floors, and the sealant he was using created fumes that ignited at the pilot light of a gas fireplace. Damage was estimated to be at least $350,000.

Associated Press

Washington Co.

Nutritionist, 55, is convicted of fraud

Yesterday, a Washington County Circuit Court jury convicted a nutritionist, Olusola Idowu, 55, of Hagerstown, of Medicaid fraud.

Authorities said she practiced in Hagerstown and Silver Spring and billed Amerigroup, a Medicaid agent, and three private insurers as if a physician performed services, though she knew no doctor was involved.

The state attorney general's office said that from March 2002 through March 2006, Idowu used a billing code reserved for physicians doing consultations.

The attorney general's office says the fraud exceeded $175,000.

Associated Press

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