State's Attorney Frank R. Weathersbee, who faces a re-election campaign next year, has appointed a staff assistant to be his news spokesman and has ordered his prosecutors to channel all news media inquiries through the spokesman.
Alvin J. Arnett, Mr. Weathersbee's administrative assistant, will handle news media inquiries in addition to his present duties helping the office's 30 attorneys with administrative matters, Mr. Weathersbee said yesterday.
A former lobbyist with the CSX Railway Co., Mr. Arnett is a lawyer and lives in Annapolis.
John R. Greiber, a likely Republican challenger, called the move a political attempt to raise Mr. Weathersbee's public profile.
But Mr. Weathersbee, a Democrat, said the move is an attempt to streamline the proces of getting information to news media. Similar positions exist in Montgomery and Prince George's counties, and the position is needed in major cases to coordinate requests for interviews and supply information about trials and court dates.
Mr. Weathersbee said the need for the position became apparent during the trial of Ronald W. Price, the Northeast High School teacher convicted of having sex with his students. That case attracted national attention and prompted a flood of calls from news outlets.
Mr. Weathersbee said assistants still will provide basic details of any case they handle, but that Mr. Arnett will handle requests for reactions to cases.