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Ehrlich names three to plum state posts


Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. yesterday nominated a long-serving Baltimore County delegate, the head of his transition team and the former Prince George's County executive to plum state posts.

Pending confirmation by the Senate, Del. John S. Arnick, one of the longest-serving members of the General Assembly, who briefly served as chairman of the Judiciary Committee when Ehrlich was a member, will take a seat on the Board of Contract Appeals.

James T. Brady, who resigned as head of the Department of Business and Economic Development in 1998 and later became Ehrlich's transition team chairman, was nominated for an unpaid seat on the University System of Maryland Board of Regents. That body already has one prominent Ehrlich supporter from the 2002 campaign -- the governor also appointed his chief fundraiser, Richard E. Hug, to that board.

Former Prince George's County Executive Wayne K. Curry, a Democrat who has been discussed as a potential running mate for Ehrlich this year, was nominated for a seat on the Maryland Stadium Authority. That job is also unpaid, though members get free tickets to sporting events.

The nominations are part of the annual rite of "green bag" appointments when the governor sends his picks for state posts to the Senate for confirmation. They have often been a way for executives to reward supporters.

In a statement issued with the nominations, Ehrlich emphasized the quality and diversity of the 220 nominations he made for 85 state boards and offices.

"I am pleased once again to nominate a group of eminently qualified individuals for Gubernatorial appointment; individuals who were selected on the basis of their experience, integrity and commitment to public service, regardless of party affiliation," Ehrlich said in a statement. "These nominations further complement what is already the most diverse and bipartisan Administration in Maryland's history."

The Ehrlich administration has been criticized in the past year by Democrats who complain that the governor has worked to purge members of their party from the bureaucracy. A special committee of the legislature is investigating the administration's personnel practices.

In his statement, Ehrlich said that no Maryland governor has ever appointed more members of the other party to state jobs. He also noted that this year's appointees come from every county in Maryland and Baltimore City, and that 25 percent of them are minorities.

This is the second time Arnick, a Democrat from eastern Baltimore County, has been nominated to a prominent state post. In 1992, when he was the judiciary chairman, Gov. William Donald Schaefer nominated him to the Baltimore County District Court.

But he withdrew his nomination after two women testified before the Senate that he had made sexist and racist remarks to them.

Seven months later, he was appointed to fill his old seat in the legislature when his replacement died of a heart attack at a political softball game in Towson. He has since been re-elected three times but never regained his leadership position in the General Assembly.

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