Gov. Larry Hogan named budget adviser Robert R. Neall and transition chief James T. Brady to the state university system's Board of Regents on Friday as he submitted 331 "green bag" appointments to the Senate for approval.

The Republican governor also exercised his prerogative of giving his party majority membership on the Maryland State Board of Elections and on local boards around the state.

Advertisement

Hogan continued a more than 60-year-old tradition of delivering gubernatorial nominations to a wide number of boards and commissions to senators in an actual green bag, a reference to a slang term for patronage used in Maryland since the 19th century, according to the Maryland State Archives.

The appointments include such powerful, high-profile bodies as the Board of Regents and Public Service Commission, as well as narrowly focused boards such as the Advisory Committee on Archaeology.

The best-known of the five university system regents Hogan selected are Neall and Brady. Neall is a former delegate, state senator and Anne Arundel County executive who played a central role in crafting Hogan's first budget. He serves as chief executive of Priority Partners managed-care organization. Brady is a former secretary of business and economic development who has overseen two gubernatorial transitions.

Hogan also named as regents Robert Pevenstein, a mergers and acquisitions specialist; civil engineer Robert D. Rauch and University of Baltimore law student Sydney Comitz. The Hogan appointees will hold five seats on the 17-member board. Rauch was first named a regent by Gov. Martin O'Malley.

The governor appointed two new members of the Public Service Commission, which regulates utility rates in Maryland. They are telecommunications lawyer Michael L. Higgs Jr. and former BGE chief customer service officer Jeannette M. Mills. For now, a majority of the five-member commission will be O'Malley appointees, including Chairman W. Kevin Hughes.

Unlike most of the green bag appointments, PSC commissioners hold full-time positions with a 2014 salary of $136,631. The chairman is paid $162,318.

Hogan nominated two more people to serve on the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange board, which oversees the state's online portal where the uninsured can buy coverage under the federal Affordable Care Act. During his campaign, Hogan was a critic of the exchange, which was so dysfunctional during its first year that its website was scrapped and replaced.

The new appointees both served in the administration of former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. S. Anthony McCann, a former state health secretary, has a public policy and finance background and now teaches at the University of Maryland and Georgetown University. Dr. Michelle A. Gourdine, a physician, served as a deputy health secretary for public health services and now works as a health care consultant focusing on preventive health and wellness.

Two members of the nine-member board have already been replaced by members of Hogan's Cabinet — Secretary of Health Van T. Mitchell and state Insurance Commissioner Alfred W. Redmer Jr.

Hogan made 13 appointments to the 29-member Critical Area Commission for the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays, which regulates land use along the waterfront. Along with the seven departmental representatives on the commission, the new appointees give the Hogan administration a majority on the board.

Some of the appointments worry environmentalists.

"There are good people among these appointments, but some have a history of favoring development above the environment," said Tom Zolper, a spokesman for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. "That's concerning for a commission that protects the most sensitive areas of the Chesapeake Bay."

The 11 appointments include three Republican elected officials: Councilman David S. Marks of Baltimore County, Councilman Curtis L. Beulah of Harford County and Commissioner Patrick H. Nutter of Calvert County.

Brady received a second appointment as a member of the Maryland Economic Development Commission, a panel at the heart of Hogan's program of boosting business. He is one of 11 Hogan appointees to the commission, including economist and transition team member Anirban Basu and former state Business and Economic Development Secretary Aristides Melissaratos.

Advertisement

Harford County Executive Barry Glassman was named to the board of the Maryland Economic Development Corp., an agency that develops some of its own projects and also helps finance private-sector ventures.

Baltimore Sun reporter Meredith Cohn contributed to this article.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement