Steve Fogleman

Steve Fogleman (Baltimore Sun / August 15, 2006)

The chairman of the Baltimore City liquor board will step down from his post to take a position on the Orphans' Court.

Stephan Fogleman, who was confirmed Friday by the Maryland State Senate, expects to be sworn in as a judge within the next 30 days. He will serve the remainder of the term and plans to run in the June primary for the next four-year term.

Fogleman said he wants to make the experience for families that come before the probate court as smooth as possible, saying "It can be a very difficult time for families."

The position pays $62,500. A bill before the General Assembly would raise the salary to $74,000, Fogleman said.

Fogleman served seven years on the Baltimore City Board of Liquor License Commissioners, a hybrid city-state agency that regulates the sale of alcoholic beverages in the city. He expects to sit down with the board to discuss a transition plan.

He helped institute sweeping changes at the board after an audit released last April revealed widespread mismanagement and spotty enforcement.

"The agency has gone through a tremendous transition, not all of it has been pretty, not all of it has been perfect," Fogleman said. "The board is more transparent than ever."

Pending state legislation would force further changes by giving the city government more control and requiring all records be posted online.

Fogleman amassed a more than 5,300-person following on Twitter as @BaltoBeerBaron, live Twitting the results of board decisions and fostering dialogue between community associations, bar owners and craft brewers.

He said he is considering handing over the popular Twitter account to the next board chairman, although it's not clear who that will be.

Gov. Martin O'Malley will nominate a replacement, who will must be confirmed by the Senate. A gubernatorial spokeswoman said Friday there is no set timeline for when the next chairman will be selected.

The position pays $28,500 a year, Fogleman said.

Fogleman is a general practice lawyer with a Glen Burnie-based firm.

ywenger@baltsun.com

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