Democratic Gov. Wes Moore’s pick to lead the juvenile justice system in Maryland was withheld from final approval Friday, preventing the new governor’s cabinet from being almost fully formed, as state senators agreed to every other pick unanimously.
Acting Secretary of Juvenile Services Vincent Schiraldi, a former commissioner of New York City’s Department of Correction, is expected to receive final confirmation next week with Democratic support in the chamber that is solidly controlled by the party.
But the nominee has drawn concerns from Republicans, who say his philosophy on criminal justice for juveniles is not focused enough on accountability.
Moore has stood by Schiraldi, who told a Senate committee Monday that his vision for juvenile justice in Maryland included extensive community engagement and the creation of additional educational and work opportunities for juveniles in the justice system.
“If they’re in custody, I want to expand the kinds of programs that will help those young people turn their lives around,” Schiraldi told senators. For those who are not in custody, he called for “high-intensity, wraparound services for the highest-risk young people.”
Republicans like Senate Minority Whip Justin Ready, however, said they plan to vote against Schiraldi’s approval.
While the Senate approved eight other members of Moore’s cabinet Friday, a vote on Schiraldi was delayed until Tuesday.
Maryland Policy & Politics
“The actions of the General Assembly have gone the opposite direction away from accountability, responsibility,” Ready, a Carroll County Republican, said. “My concern is that the agenda of the nominee is the same direction of just continuing to go away from consequences, away from accountability, away from the making amends part of restorative justice.”
Moore, who took office last month, believes Schiraldi “will work in partnership with police, educators, and child welfare and mental health professionals to improve public safety and outcomes for youth not only in Baltimore, but throughout Maryland,” said spokesperson Carter Elliott.
The Department of Juvenile Services nominee is on track to be the only one of Moore’s roughly two dozen cabinet members who does not receive unanimous support in the Senate’s confirmation process.
After nine of his nominees received final approval earlier in the week, another eight were able to drop “acting” from their titles at the end of this week. Those receiving approval Friday were:
- Secretary of Environment Serena McIlwain, former undersecretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency.
- Secretary of General Services Atif Chaudhry, a former deputy secretary in the Maryland Department of Health.
- Secretary of Housing & Community Development Jake Day, the mayor of Salisbury and an Army veteran.
- Secretary of Human Services Rafael López, who had various roles at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the White House.
- Secretary of Planning Rebecca Flora, who led development and sustainability plans in several states.
- Secretary of Public Safety and Corrections Carolyn Scruggs, a 27-year veteran of the department, including as an assistant secretary focused on programs, treatment and reentry services.
- Secretary of the Department of Transportation Paul Wiedefeld, a former top official at BWI Marshall Airport, the Maryland Transit Administration and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.
- Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony Woods, an Army veteran who recently founded and led the Quad Fellowship.
Maryland cabinet secretaries’ annual salaries averaged $192,000 in the fiscal year that ended June 30.
With the 17 approved this week and Schiraldi scheduled for next week, most of the remaining members of the cabinet are secretaries appointed by former Republican Gov. Larry Hogan who Moore has decided to keep.
Moore has not announced his decision on a final position — the secretary of the Maryland State Police. Acting Secretary Lt. Col. Dalaine M. Brady is currently serving in the role.