NOT MANY MARYLANDERS knew of Lloyd W. Jones, who died Saturday at 61. He liked it that way. He enjoyed doing his job quietly and without attention. Yet he was so good at it that he became the state government's No. 1 trouble-shooter, the person picked to extinguish conflagrations other bureaucrats had started.
His Annapolis colleagues described him as "the bureaucrat's bureaucrat" who toiled behind the scenes to make government work. He personified everything that is admired in a government employee -- hard-working, careful but innovative, totally honest, a man of complete integrity. His friendly, low-key demeanor and clarity of thought made him a favorite of governors, legislators and those he supervised.
Yet Mr. Jones could be a tough negotiator, which he proved in handling the state's bailout of the savings and loan industry. He inherited a financial mess and carefully but steadily managed Maryland out of this fiasco. In the end, no depositor lost a penny of principal.
When the Department of Assessments and Taxation was in turmoil over rising property-tax bills and mounting taxpayer rebellion, Mr. Jones was called in. He employed tact and diplomacy, replacing arrogant assessors who treated angry homeowners rudely, giving workers sensitivity training and setting up a computerized appeals system for homeowners.
Next assignment: The boiling caldron of the State Lottery Agency. Legislators were furious over a questionable keno pTC contract; federal and state probes were launched, and lottery revenues were sliding. Mr. Jones cut red tape and moved 1,600 lottery terminals out of a warehouse and into stores. He restored integrity to the procurement process, fending off pressure to politicize bidding for new terminals. Taxpayers saved tens of millions of dollars.
This native Baltimorean, who also had run Carroll County Finance Office and had been a top city budget chief, loved the challenge of government service -- and the reward of knowing he was serving people. Lloyd Jones set a standard of excellence. He disproved the notion that "bureaucrat" is a dirty word.
Pub Date: 12/18/96