Wednesday’s Board of Public Works meeting started with a tribute to one of the people who had been a fixture on the board for 16 years: Gov. William Donald Schaefer, who died on Monday.
Schaefer sat on the board when he was governor, from 1987 to 1995, and when he was comptroller, from 1999 to 2007.
Comptroller Peter Franchot, who defeated Schaefer in the 2006 Democratic primary, said that Schaefer instilled a culture of giving among employees, and led Maryland into the 21st century in terms of economic policy. Franchot said that Schaefer left him the best gift someone leaving office could: a capable and dedicated office.
Treasurer Nancy Kopp said she has many memories of Schaefer. He was a man who was always working to get things done, and had a wonderful ability to capture people’s imagination, she said. He cared deeply about Baltimore and put the city back on the map, Kopp said.
But Kopp remembers best a time she took the initiative to go into his office and tell him that he had a great idea. She told him that he had her support.
“He didn’t like that,” Kopp said. “He wanted to drag it and beat it out of me.”
And what did Schaefer do? He pressed his lips together, turned his head, and said nothing. For about eight minutes, Kopp recalled.
Kopp said she sat quietly, waiting. And Schaefer finally did look back at her and talk to her about it.