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Selection of new port director expected in weeks


The committee seeking an executive director for the Maryland Port Administration has narrowed its search and could make a recommendation to the governor within the next few weeks.

While the 10-member panel hoped to find a successor quickly, the process already has taken several months. A national advertising campaign drew several hundred applicants for the $110,000-a-year post.

Recently, the port administration hired an executive search firm to assist the committee, which is made up of business and labor representatives. Acting Director Thomas L. Osborne would not say whether the firm has been soliciting new applicants or merely helping to evaluate existing ones. Among the frequently mentioned candidates for the port's top job is Peggy Chaplin, a Baltimore maritime lawyer and former freight forwarder, and Morgan C. "Trip" Bailey III, the port's marketing director since November 1992.

In recent years, Mr. Bailey, 37, has traveled extensively meeting with top shipping executives. Prior to becoming marketing director, he was director of operations.

Ms. Chaplin, 54, is a partner with the Baltimore law firm of Ober, Kaler, Grimes & Shriver. She has been active in port and trade issues for a number of years.

Although a top official for the Port of New York and New Jersey is a woman, there are only a handful of others in leadership positions for ports and shipping companies. Gov. Parris N. Glendening and Transportation Secretary David L. Winstead reportedly have expressed concern about the lack of women in top positions at the Maryland Department of Transportation.

Members of the committee have refused to discuss the selection, but several denied reports that the diversity of the panel, with both strong business and labor interests, may have slowed the process.

"I'd like to think whoever we get is an individual who could see the port as a whole," says Richard P. Hughes, president of Local 957, International Longshoremen's Association, and a search committee member. "We want to find someone who would not favor any side but see that all the groups are fairly treated."

The search committee was appointed by Governor Glendening in March shortly after Michael P. Angelos and his deputy, G. Gregory Russell, resigned in the midst of a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into allegations of inside trading prior to Baltimore Bancorp's merger last year with First Fidelity Bancorp.

The SEC has filed no official action in connection with that probe.

The new port administration director will become the sixth person in 10 years to head the state agency that oversees operation of Maryland's five public marine terminals.

The $110,000 salary is somewhat higher than the average salary of $96,182 for port directors nationwide.

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