Early bird tickets for Baltimore’s BEST party on sale now!

Governor's appointments criticized


Gov. Parris N. Glendening's choices of an incumbent and a former county police officer for Anne Arundel County school board represented "political patronage," County Executive John G. Gary Jr. charged yesterday.

"I'm very upset with the governor," complained Mr. Gary, whose recommendations for the board were passed over in favor of one candidate backed by state Sen. Philip C. Jimeno and another who was the top choice of the county's School Board Nominating Convention.

"It looks to me like this governor has chosen to go back to the old method, making school board appointments political patronages of the state senators. I think that's a drastic mistake," Mr. Gary said.

Mr. Glendening announced yesterday he had appointed Thomas R. Twombly to a second five-year term to represent District 31. He also chose Michael J. McNelly for the District 29A/30 seat to replace outgoing board member Dorothy Chaney.

Mr. Jimeno had lobbied for Mr. Twombly, while Mr. Gary recommended Nancy M. Shrum, who was passed over for an at-large seat last year, for the District 31 seat and David H. Ready in District 29A/30.

"I thought Mrs. Shrum was entitled to it since she had done well in the previous convention and wasn't given the opportunity to serve," Mr. Gary said. "And Mr. Ready has a strong background in planning, and God knows this school board needs some people who have some planning ability."

Mr. Jimeno, a Brooklyn Park Democrat, supported Mrs. Shrum for the school board position last year. Later, she ran for his state Senate seat as a Republican.

"I knew Senator Jimeno wasn't going to endorse me or support me," she said yesterday. "But I didn't think he would make a point of using the election against me. What is the message here to the citizens? If you have the right connections you get appointed?"

Mr. Jimeno said he supported Mr. Twombly because he believed the National Security Agency telecommunications analyst had been a good board member. "He did not duck the tough issues and decisions that had to be made -- that's why he deserved reappointment," Mr. Jimeno said.

"But I don't see how people could say it's political," he added. "I didn't do anything that was not consistent with what I've always said -- that the choice of the nominating convention should be honored."

The nominating convention, a coalition of citizens groups, recommends to the governor two candidates for each open school board seat. But seven times in the past 12 years the convention's first-choice candidates have been rejected by the governor, leading to calls from some groups for an elected school board.

At this year's convention, Janet Bury, an assistant professor at Morgan State University, had the most votes in District 31. Mr. Twombly and Mrs. Shrum tied for second. Mr. McNelly won the most votes in the District 29A/30 race.

Mr. Twombly said he was "surprised, but happy" that he was chosen. "I guess I have my guardian angels to thank."

Mr. McNelly, who retired after 26 years on the county police force, said, "I am extremely proud that I have been chosen to continue my service to the citizens of Anne Arundel County."

Copyright © 2019, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad