DON'T KEEP THE governor waiting.
That's what a couple of Maryland state troopers did and now they aren't driving Gov. Parris N. Glendening anymore.
A state police spokesman confirmed that two members of Glendening's security detail were transferred last week to other assignments, calling the moves "routine" personnel decisions.
But sources say the transfers were made after a couple of incidents in which Glendening was not picked up as promptly as he would have liked.
The final straw occurred recently when Glendening arrived on a state police plane at a Western Maryland airport expecting to be met by one of his police drivers. But the trooper was nowhere to be seen, according to the sources.
Another trooper who worked in the airport noticed the state's chief executive cooling his heels and asked Glendening if he needed help, sources said. The governor promptly drafted that trooper to drive him to his event.
Maj. Greg Shipley, a state police spokesman, declined to give reasons for the transfers but said the "executive protection unit," which provides security to the governor and other state officials, is not "a career position."
"Transfers in and out are routine," Shipley said.
'Excitement' is goal set for state Democratic summit
The Maryland Democratic Party isn't sitting back and resting on its election gains of last year.
Saturday, the party expects a crowd of more than 1,000 activists to gather in Upper Marlboro for a daylong "summit" that is part pep rally and part seminar.
Although the presidential election is a year away, organizers figure it's not too early to cultivate a statewide grass-roots organization to work for the presidential nominee and other Democratic candidates, including U.S. Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes.
"We're trying to generate some excitement about the 2000 election," said Rob Johnson, executive director of the Maryland Democratic Party, who said the event was a first for the party.
About all the state's Democratic leaders will be there to inspire the troops, with the exception of Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, who has a family obligation.
Among those speaking will be Anna Bennett, Glendening's pollster in last year's election.
Taylor Branch, the Baltimore biographer of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., and Robert Moore, a leader of the Service Employees International Union in Maryland, will discuss civil rights. Speakers from outside Maryland will include Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr. of Illinois and former Colorado Gov. Roy Romer, chairman of next summer's national convention.
The focus on the party's rank and file occurs after the embarrassing cancellation of a Baltimore event for the party's fat cats -- a $300,000 Democratic National Committee fund-raiser featuring President Clinton.
The luncheon, scheduled for yesterday, was scrapped because of poor ticket sales.
Townsend's chief of staff says no to Gore campaign job
Alan H. Fleischmann, the lieutenant governor's chief of staff, turned down a shot at the political big time last week.
Fleischmann, a Baltimore native and Townsend's top adviser for five years, was among those asked to take over the job of communications director for Vice President Al Gore's presidential effort -- a key post in a campaign struggling to secure traction.
Fleischmann considered the offer, but said no thanks. He declined to talk about it yesterday.
Glendening gets 2nd chance to name a Krauser as judge
In appointing Judge Glenn T. Harrell Jr. to the state's highest court in August, the governor passed over a longtime friend, Sherrie L. Krauser, a Prince George's County Circuit judge who was one of three finalists.
Observers said it was probably one of the harder appointments the governor has had to make.
But Glendening could soon have a chance to make amends to the Krauser family.
Krauser's husband, Prince George's lawyer Peter B. Krauser, has applied to fill Harrell's former seat on the Court of Special Appeals, the state's second highest court. Peter Krauser has served as chairman of the Maryland Democratic Party for two years.
Democratic leaders have generally praised him for invigorating the state party, so one might assume that Glendening feels a debt of gratitude. Stay tuned to what could be one of the more closely watched appointments of Glendening's second term.