Members of a Baltimore County school board nominating group were surprised and annoyed that Gov. William Donald Schaefer didn't follow its recommendation, as he chose to replace Gwendolyn H. Tisdale on the board with former teacher Georgia H. Baublitz.
"I am stunned," says Anne Banta, president of the nominating convention, a group that represents smaller civic groups who recommend school board members to the governor. Coming off her first five-year term as a board member, Tisdale was the convention's top choice to retain her seat for a second term.
"You could not find anyone in this county who cares more and has worked harder for kids and is any better qualified" than Tisdale, Banta says. "She has devoted her life to this, and is eminently qualified and cares for the kids in Baltimore County. I'm surprised and very disappointed."
Meanwhile, in Anne Arundel County, where the governor had gone against that county convention's choices in recent years, he did hew to the convention's top recommendation.
Schaefer on Monday appointed Maureen Carr York of Severna Park to fill the lone vacancy on the Anne Arundel school board. The vacancy was created by the departure of Patricia Huecker, who served 10 years.
Schaefer spokesman Welford McLellan says that, with regard to the Baltimore County choice, the convention's recommendation played only one part in the governor's decision yesterday. The governor respects the convention process, but "reserves the right to make his own decision when there's other information coming in to him," McLellan says.
But the spokesman declines to specify the reasons for Schaefer's choice, saying only that letters, phone calls and recommendations from community leaders and members of the school system also were considered.
School Superintendent Robert Y. Dubel shares Banta's disappointment, calling Tisdale a valuable board member. "No one has worked harder," he says.
Dubel says it is unusual for the convention's second choice to win appointment, and for a willing board member not to be reappointed.
"Donald Schaefer is one of a kind. Even if he doesn't reverse his decision, I can't let this go," says John Miller, a Baltimore County convention delegate and father of two children in the school system. "He thinks he's got a lot of stuff from the Eastern Shore. He ain't heard nothing yet."
"I'm about ready to take out a half-page ad in the local newspapers and publish both [candidates'] resumes and let the residents of Baltimore County decide," he says.
Pointing to Tisdale's expertise and interest in children's welfare, Miller cites her experience as co-chair of the Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Committee and as chair of the county Child Care Advisory Council.
But McLellan says Baublitz "has the kind of background that would allow anyone who wanted to be objective to see that she would make a valuable contribution to the school board." Her opponents, he says, "just need to take a step back and give the lady a chance."
Not all of the governor's appointments were a surprise.
Schaefer reappointed Ronald Jacoby, who received the convention's blessing, to a second five-year term to fill the other open seat on the Baltimore County school board.
In Anne Arundel, Carr York had been the first choice of the nominating committee. Jane L. Andrew, a former board member, was second.