Comptroller Peter Franchot, apparently tired of sitting in place while waiting for Gov. Martin O'Malley and Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp to join him at Board of Public Works meetings, spoke up Wednesday to rebuke his colleagues for being tardy to the party.
After arriving on time for the 10 a.m. meeting, Franchot sat in place for more than 20 minutes, paging through his briefing book as more than 100 people -- mostly state offiicials -- cooled their heels.
At 10:24, Franchot piped up. "Trying to be cheerful, thinking about all you busy people sitting here," he said. The comptroller suggested that perhaps the meetings should be pushed back to 10:30 if they can't get started at 10.
"If we can't start our meeetings on time, no wonder we have problems on substantial issues," he observed.
Two minutes later, Kopp entered the room, followed by O'Malley about a minute later. It has been the practice of the governor and treasurer to hold a "pre-meeting" that Franchot declines to attend. It is not unusual for the two to keep the larger group waiting for up to a half hour before the actual board meeting starts.
Franchot, by the way, was continuing to sport the tie-free look he has favored at recent board meetings. The comptroller said that what he called his "casual, high-tech" apparel choice is the result of elbow strain that makes it painful to tie a knot.
"This comes from an injury I sustained in service to the state of Maryland," he said. "Too many vigorous handshakes."
Franchot said it's not a permanent fashion statement.
"When it stops hurting, I'll put the tie back on," he said.