Delegate gives up role in scholarship distribution


Saying he no longer has hope that the Maryland General Assembly will give up the power to distribute millions of dollars in state scholarships, Del. Gerry Brewster has decided to relinquish his own power to distribute the funds.

The Baltimore County Democrat has asked the State Scholarship Administration to award his share of the scholarship money to students in his district on the basis of need. Each state delegate is given $41,712 in scholarship money to disburse over a four-year period.

By taking this action, Mr. Brewster, who represents the 9th District in Towson, joins five delegates and two senators who already have relinquished control over their scholarship funds.

He is the first Baltimore County legislator to take the action.

"While I support providing financial aid to worthy students, I do not feel that it is appropriate for elected officials to be solely responsible for the awarding of scholarships," Mr. Brewster wrote to Janice Breslin-Doyle, the scholarship administration director.

In the past, Mr. Brewster has charged that the temptation to shower constituents with scholarships -- to favor relatives, the children of friends or political supporters has been too great.

During the last two legislative sessions, he has introduced bills to eliminate the power legislators have to give out these tax moneys. Both bills have failed.

Mr. Brewster said he plans to introduce another bill when the General Assembly reconvenes in January. However, he holds little hope that the bill will pass.

Maryland is the only state that lets elected legislators distribute scholarship money to their constituents.

In fiscal year 1993, the state Senate has $5.8 million to distribute, while the House of Delegates has $1.47 million, according to Jeff Welsh, spokesman for the State Scholarship Administration. The average scholarship grant from a delegate is $800; the average Senate scholarship award is $650. Last year, the House awarded 1,849 scholarships, the Senate 8,860.

The other legislators who have given up their right to distribute the money are Dels. John C. Astle, D-Anne Arundel; David R. Craig, R-Harford; Peter Franchot, D-Montgomery; Samuel I. "Sandy" Rosenberg, D-Baltimore; Robert H. Kittleman, R-Howard; and Sens. Christopher J. McCabe, R-Howard, and Julian L. Lapides, D-Balti- more.

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