February 16, 2012

Bill seeks to reduce chauffeurs for state officials

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By Daniel Menefee
Dan@MarylandReporter.com

House Minority Leader Anthony O’Donnell, R-Calvert, testified Wednesday on a bill he sponsored to stop public officials from using state employees as personal chauffeurs.

He also wants to reduce the number of state troopers assigned to transport lawmakers and top government executives.

“Marylanders are struggling to pay their bills and keep food on the table,” O’Donnell said. “They struggle to pay high gas prices, and they don’t want to pay for dozens of state officials to be driven around by state employees acting as chauffeurs.”

There are 32 troopers assigned to the executive branch. Attorney General Douglas Gansler, Comptroller Peter Franchot and State Treasurer Nancy Kopp are each assigned a car and two state troopers. The governor and lieutenant governor’s security strength is undisclosed for security purposes. The services for all five cost $3.2 million annually, according to the bill’s fiscal note.

Senate President Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael Busch each have two troopers and a car assigned to them at a cost of $600,000 annually.

O’Donnell wants all public officials, except the governor and lieutenant governor, to drive themselves and request reimbursement for authorized expenses that apply to state employees.

The proposal would also end the practice of state officials using employees in their control as personal chauffeurs.

For instance, the lead maintenance mechanic for the University of Maryland provides driving services for the chancellor and members of the Board of Regents, and the maintenance mechanic at University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute is on call to drive its president.

  • party

    .Why not have chauffers,  the rest of us cant afford insurance and or new gas taxes…..they were voted into office ,i am amazed we dont bow every time  a public  rep drives by.  Its a shame, we should raise college  fees to keep the school heads with a chauffers along with the new mansion they need.
    Stop crying they are hard working representative who only have our interest at heart.

  • Chap244

    I think the $600,000 annually for two Troopers and their cars is “slightly” inflated. Even with overtime, their salary is not half that. Where would the savings be? MSP is understaffed as it is and they would simply be reassigned to work somewhere else, same salary, with a car, less cushy job, but no savings to the state. Now the others mentioned, let ’em drive themselves.

  • staffer

    Thanks for taking down the photo, it was mean spirited and juvenile. Your reporter seems very decent. Can’t understand why he would undermine his own efforts.

  • Da-posty

    Maybe it’s time to “contract out” these security details.