Longtime Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney Frank R. Weathersbee is retiring from the position he’s held for 25 years to become a member of the state’s Parole Commission. His appointment was announced Wednesday by Gov. Martin O’Malley.
Weathersbee, 69, a prosecutor for four decades, said he will “retire” June 11, and start on the commission the next day amid “mixed emotions.”
“I’ve got an opportunity to do something else and stay kind of in the field, so I am going to take it,” said Weathersbee, a Democrat.
He said he’d sought the position in March when he heard it was available, and thought his expertise in criminal law would be a good fit for the commission. The annual salary is just under $89,000, and the term is six years.
Weathersbee, who developed a reputation for loving his job, but not the campaign trail, said, “I’ve had six contested elections. It’s enough.”
He was named as an assistant state’s attorney in 1969, and was appointed as state’s attorney by the county’s judges in 1988, replacing Warren Duckett Jr., who was named to the bench. He was elected in 1990 and every four years since then.
Over the years he became well-known in state criminal law circles for developing a victim services program that became a model for other prosecutors’ offices. He’s been active in the victims’ rights arena and was a key player in starting drug courts in Anne Arundel County.
Weathersbee will fill the seat vacated by Michael Blount, who retired in January.
The county’s circuit court judges must now name a new top prosecutor. That person will fulfill Weathersbee’s term, then decide whether to seek election in 2014.
Weathersbee said Wednesday he’d like his replacement to be Deputy State’s Attorney Thomas J. Fleckenstein, 42, who was his unofficial campaign manager in 2010 and is married to his spokesperson.
Speculation that Weathersbee might not complete the current four-year term began in 2011 when he re-hired Fleckenstein. A prosecutor in that office from 1997 to 2003, Fleckenstein, also a Democrat, sought election as a delegate and was in private practice when Weathersbee brought him into the office.
“He’s been my deputy now for a couple of years, and he’s been a prosecutor before that. He’s a good leader; he is good with the budget. I think the office would work well under him and that it would not be disruptive,” Weathersbee said.
“But that is up to the judges,” he said.
Fleckenstein said his boss’ decision made Wednesday a “bittersweet day” in the office.
“He has had a 40-year career in the criminal justice system and he contributed to the criminal justice system in many ways,” he said. “His career has been without peer. And he will be an excellent addition to the Parole Commission.”