Top Ehrlich officials clear out

As Gov. Martin O'Malley took the oath of office yesterday, several top-level Cabinet secretaries who served under Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. cleared out their desks and offices.

Those departing included Department of Business and Economic Development Secretary Aris Melissaratos; Juvenile Services Secretary Kenneth C. Montague Jr.; and Public Safety Secretary Mary Ann Saar.


Rick Abbruzzese, an O'Malley spokesman, said that all of the approximately 20 Cabinet secretaries appointed by Ehrlich had tendered their resignations. "Governor O'Malley accepted most of those resignations," Abbruzzese said.

He said a complete list of who is staying and who is leaving would be announced today.


Seven top-level agency posts have been filled, Abbruzzese said, and interim secretaries are in charge at other departments pending final decisions on permanent appointments.

"We have worked closely with the Ehrlich administration to secure a smooth transition," Abbruzzese said. "We have permanent secretaries or acting secretaries within all the major departments."

Clarence Bishop, who was chief of staff under O'Malley at City Hall, was appointed interim secretary at the Department of Business and Economic Development to replace Melissaratos, Abbruzzese said.

Meanwhile, Sean Malone, who was city labor commissioner, was selected to head the state Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.

At the Department of Juvenile Services, Roberto Rodriquez, an assistant secretary under Montague, was appointed to serve as acting secretary. Edward Hopkins, a spokesman for juvenile services, said Montague informed his executive staff at a meeting this week that his resignation would be effective at noon yesterday.

"He said that it was a pleasure to serve, that he enjoyed working with the entire staff and that he felt the agency had made great strides in the past four years," Hopkins said.

Saar had said shortly after Ehrlich lost his bid for re-election that she planned to retire as head of the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services effective yesterday, with the change in administrations.

Deputy Secretary G. Lawrence Franklin is serving as acting secretary in the wake of Saar's departure, according to a spokesman for the public safety agency.


State Police Superintendent Col. Thomas E. "Tim" Hutchins was one of a few officials whose resignations were not immediately accepted. It was not clear how long he would remain in the job.