The Board of Public Works unanimously approved Robert Gorrell on Wednesday to head Maryland's school construction program.
Gorrell, who has led New Mexico's school construction efforts, was recruited to head the Interagency Committee on School Construction after a nationwide search. State schools Superintendent Karen B. Salmon, who chairs the five-member committee, said Gorrell was the panel's unanimous choice.
The committee oversees the state's distribution of school construction money — which amounts to hundreds of millions of dollars each year — to Maryland's 23 counties and Baltimore City.
Gorrell's predecessor, David Lever, was a target of Gov. Larry Hogan and Comptroller Peter Franchot last year after he was caught in the middle of a dispute over the pace of installing air conditioning in Baltimore and Baltimore County schools.
Lever, who had held the job since 2003, resigned in protest last May over the board's decisions overruling local school systems and its members' treatment of local school superintendents. Hogan said at the time that he welcomed his departure.