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By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | March 3, 2012
If you hold a gathering of more than 50 boats in Maryland waters after June 1, you can expect to pay a "marine gathering permit fee" — the amount yet to be determined — under legislation proposed by the O'Malley administration. Need a certified copy of a marriage certificate? The cost would double from $12 to $24 under an administration proposal. Own a commercial scale with a capacity of more than a ton? The fee for registering it would increase from $75 to $100 under a bill submitted by the state Department of Agriculture.
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NEWS
October 13, 2014
I was a Maryland Transit Administration employee when Larry Hogan was former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s appointments secretary, and in my judgment many of their appointments at the MTA were questionable at best and in some cases a disaster. For example, a professional ice dancer was hired for a high-paying position despite his lack of qualifications for a position in transit - but he did keep a Darth Vader figurine in his office. Maybe Mr. Hogan could explain his rationale for hiring that employee?
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NEWS
October 13, 2014
I was a Maryland Transit Administration employee when Larry Hogan was former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s appointments secretary, and in my judgment many of their appointments at the MTA were questionable at best and in some cases a disaster. For example, a professional ice dancer was hired for a high-paying position despite his lack of qualifications for a position in transit - but he did keep a Darth Vader figurine in his office. Maybe Mr. Hogan could explain his rationale for hiring that employee?
NEWS
October 8, 2014
The most provocative new line of attack Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown made against businessman Larry Hogan during this week's debate was that the Republican nominee plans to cut $450 million from school construction if he's elected. Is this true? Absolutely not, Mr. Hogan says. But the fact that there is some basis to Mr. Brown's claim points to a flaw with Mr. Hogan's campaign - and the fact that Mr. Brown is exploiting it in the way he is points to the hollowness of this race. Mr. Brown got the $450 million figure from Mr. Hogan's plan for achieving savings in state government spending.
NEWS
By Andrew A. Green and Andrew A. Green,SUN STAFF | May 14, 2005
Kidded by a colleague about his "deviousness," one-time gubernatorial aide Joseph F. Steffen Jr. replied that he had "never been caught at anything," according to an e-mail released yesterday by the Maryland Insurance Administration. The e-mail, written four months before he acknowledged spreading rumors about Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley's private life, was among 242 pages of documents released yesterday by the insurance administration in response to a freedom of information request by The Sun, The Washington Post and the Associated Press.
NEWS
By Laura Lippman and Laura Lippman,Evening Sun Staff | June 14, 1991
The state Military Department has joined the ranks of state agencies eliminating jobs to balance their budgets.Thirteen security guards at two armories will lose their jobs and a 14th vacant position will be eliminated so the department can pare $479,000 in personnel costs from its 1992 budget, Col. Howard S. Freedlander, the department spokesman, said.Today, representatives from various state agencies were to meet with the affected employees to counsel them on benefits and possible jobs at other state agencies, such as the Division of Correction.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | December 31, 2011
It's just an ordinary phone, the hotline that tips the state of Maryland's bloodhounds that something's amiss in one of the agencies. It isn't red, there are no special bells and whistles, but it does get answered. And when it does, it can set off a chain of events that can topple long-entrenched bureaucrats and even — in extreme cases — put people in jail. The number of the hotline is 1-877-FRAUD-11 — or 1-877-372-8311 if you prefer. Along with its online counterpart, the phone number connects callers with the Office of Legislative Audits, an independent agency that serves as the General Assembly's check on fraud and waste in state agencies.
BUSINESS
By David Conn and David Conn,Annapolis Bureau of The Sun | November 7, 1991
ANNAPOLIS -- The agency charged with keeping Maryland's insurance companies safe and sound is beset with management and resource problems, according to a study. The report also found the agency unable to properly represent the interests of consumers or to be sure that companies can pay their claims.The study by the Department of Fiscal Services, discussed at a hearing before lawmakers yesterday, portrays a state Insurance Division with problems in "organizational structure, resources, management, staffing and procedures."
NEWS
By Andrew A. Green and Andrew A. Green,Sun reporter | August 22, 2007
Rescue workers from five state agencies were unable to communicate with each other by radio when they responded to a fatal crash on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in May, though officials said command procedures in place mitigated the issue. "We're not aware that it materially affected the incident," said John Contestabile, the Maryland Department of Transportation's director of engineering and emergency services. Battalion Chief Michael Cox, a spokesman for the Anne Arundel County Fire Department, said rescue workers from his county and from Queen Anne's County had radios that used the same technology.
NEWS
By Lynn Anderson and Lynn Anderson,SUN STAFF | September 2, 2004
Three state agencies paid as much as 28 times more than the best-available prices for janitorial supplies from July 2001 through last November, according to a report by the Department of Legislative Services. The three agencies - the State Highway Administration, Springfield Hospital Center and Morgan State University - purchased goods worth a total of $1.4 million from 17 companies through the period that auditors identified as showing a pattern of paying exorbitant prices, the report said.
NEWS
By Luke Broadwater, The Baltimore Sun | August 3, 2014
A few months ago, Gov. Martin O'Malley grew frustrated with state government's lack of creativity on the environment. He challenged his staff to look for new ideas to help the Chesapeake Bay. In response, 80 bright minds from around the state — from precocious high-schoolers to CEOs of technology companies — hunkered down over the weekend at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Edgewater for a Chesapeake-oriented marathon programming competition,...
FEATURES
By Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun | July 10, 2014
State and federal officials announced Thursday a $2.2 million research effort aimed at preventing harm to whales and other marine mammals from building massive industrial wind turbines off Ocean City . The two-year study, to be led by the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, will include using underwater microphones to record sounds of whales and other marine mammals in the ocean where the federal government is soliciting bids...
NEWS
By Frederick N. Rasmussen, The Baltimore Sun | June 25, 2014
Thomas D. McKewen, a materials recovery and waste management expert who was the founding director of Maryland Environmental Service, died June 13 of congestive heart failure at his home in Ashburn, Va. The former Towson resident was 86. "I had been hearing that he was a person with a lot of ability and had an understanding of the environmental work we were doing," said former Gov. Marvin J. Mandel, who appointed Mr. McKewen as director of the...
FEATURES
By Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun | April 25, 2014
State and federal officials announced Friday they were providing $8 million to pipe clean public water to 270 homes near Salisbury where a toxic solvent has contaminated the ground water supplying residential wells there. Authorities installed water filtration systems in 2012 on 40 homes in the Morris Mill area that were discovered to have high levels of trichloroethylene. Another 18 homes with lower but still elevated levels have been supplied bottled water. Officials say they don't know who dumped the solvent there, but believe it is not continuing.
NEWS
By Colin Campbell, The Baltimore Sun | April 1, 2014
Four Maryland employees made about $255,000 in improper purchases - including guitars, plane tickets and toy soldiers - with state credit cards intended for business spending, a state audit of the program found. The audit concluded that agencies could prevent workers from abusing the 17-year-old, $260 million credit card program by using more comprehensive data to better monitor the purchases. Rather than viewing only where purchases were made, like a bank statement, state officials should regularly monitor data that shows exactly what was bought, said Thomas Barnickel, the legislative auditor.
NEWS
March 29, 2014
A decade ago, the redevelopment of the state office complex in midtown Baltimore — now known as State Center — looked like a no-brainer. Built in the 1950s and 1960s, the five buildings in the 28-acre complex, which hadn't exactly been architecturally inspired to begin with, needed to be replaced. And the site's access to Baltimore's Metro subway system suggested great potential for transit-oriented development. But wait, it was even better than that. State Center is also convenient to the city's major cultural attractions and to the light rail line as well as MARC commuter rail, so state and city officials thought big — a $1.5 billion mixed use project with apartments for a variety of income levels, a grocery store and shopping as well as a parking garage and office space for state employees, all of which could be accomplished as a public-private partnership.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser and Michael Dresser,SUN STAFF | November 20, 2003
Citizens seeking public information from Maryland government agencies are likely to be denied more than a third of the time, according to a study by a newspaper organization. The Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association sent people to 15 agencies to request 25 public records that might be of interest to citizens. The "auditors" did not receive 10 of the 25 records within the 30 days prescribed in the Maryland Public Information Act, according to the report. Jim Donahue, executive director of the press association, said the results were especially disappointing because a similar audit of local and state agencies showed widespread compliance problems three years ago. "What this audit shows is that 40 percent of the time, public officials aren't complying with the law," Donahue said.
BUSINESS
By Andrea K. Walker and Andrea K. Walker,SUN STAFF | June 15, 2002
For more than 20 years, Hugo Mejia has operated a successful business installing temperature-controlled floors in office buildings to protect cables and other computer equipment from damage. Now, the native of Guatemala wants to open a landscaping business with the hopes of making some money manicuring the lawns of state-owned buildings. Yesterday, while attending a seminar aimed at Hispanic entrepreneurs, Mejia learned how to increase his odds of winning state business. The session was the last of four sponsored by the Maryland Department of Transportation and the secretary of state's office.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser | February 6, 2014
Two Maryland departments that have  taken their share of knocks got some good news Thursday as they were among the big winners in a competition between agencies over which are doing the best job of conserving energy. Underscoring his personal interest in the effort, Gov. Martin O'Malley turned out to present the first Maryland Energy Cup to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for the best performance in total energy reduction. According to the administration, the department has cut energy consumption by 47 percent since 2008 -- aided by an efficiency project at Spring Grove Hospital Center in Catonsville that yielded an 80 percent cut in the facility's use of natural gas. Also recognized was the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services for being the most improved agency -- having jumped from ninth place to second place in energy use reduction since 2008 with a 41 percent cut. The State Highway Administration and Maryland Military Department also received awards.
BUSINESS
By John Fritze, The Baltimore Sun | January 16, 2014
Not long ago state officials in Maryland faced a technology roadblock that anyone who works at a private company would find quaint: There was no easy way to blast an email to the entire workforce. For an administration led by an early BlackBerry addict, the inability to quickly send government-wide emails in an emergency - or even to invite state employees to the executive mansion for the annual open house - was an odd holdover from an era before camera phones and touch screens. Now, roughly 54,000 state employees are switching to a cloud-based email and scheduling system provided by tech giant Google - making Maryland the largest state in the nation to rely on the ubiquitous search engine firm for email, calendars and document sharing.
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