December 11, 2013

State Roundup, December 11, 2014

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CORRECTIONS CHIEF STEPS DOWN: State corrections Secretary Gary Maynard announced Tuesday that he will step down, saying his department had “stabilized” the Baltimore City jail in the wake of a gang corruption scandal there, report Erin Cox and Ian Duncan for the Sun. WBFF-TV offers a video perspective on Maynard’s leaving.

Maynard will be taking a senior position with a national criminal-justice organization, writes John Wagner for the Post.

Maynard will be replaced by Gregg Hershberger, who currently serves as deputy secretary for operations for the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, where he has worked for 31 years, reports Alex Jackson in the Capital-Gazette.

LEGISLATORS RECOMMEND JAIL FIXES: In the wake of this year’s corruption scandal at a Baltimore jail, a Maryland legislative commission has drafted 18 recommendations, including endorsement of a 10-year, $533 million plan to replace the sprawling, antiquated complex where guards were indicted for aiding a dangerous gang, writes John Wagner for the Post.

LOCAL CORRECTIONS HELP SOUGHT: A representative of many local correctional officers asked members of the District 1 legislative delegation for help with staffing and other issues during the delegation’s presession meeting Monday evening, reports Matthew Bieniek for the Cumberland Times News. Low staffing levels have created “a dangerous situation,” said Jeff Grabenstein, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 898.

‘MUCH’ WORK ON HEALTH EXCHANGE: Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown said Tuesday that “much, much work” still needs to be done on Maryland’s online health insurance exchange and declined to say whether the state will meet a mid-December target set by Gov. Martin O’Malley to fix the major glitches, writes John Wagner for the Post.

Charged by O’Malley with implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act, Brown made his comments at the first in a series of briefings in which he has pledged to update Marylanders on efforts to fix glitches that have plagued the Maryland Health Connection since the website launched Oct. 1, write Meredith Cohn and Andrea Walker in the Sun.

Bryan Sears of the Daily Record adds some levity to the situation with a Pink Panther reference.

ROLLOUT A DISASTER: The Sun opinionators don’t mince words when they write: Maryland’s exchange website rollout was a disaster and continues to put the state’s residents at a severe disadvantage when it comes to enrolling in health insurance plans. … The General Assembly needs to investigate so we can get real answers about what went wrong and who is at fault.

NEW EXCHANGE HEAD SUED: Carolyn Quattrocki, the woman picked to take over the beleaguered Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, is the subject of $1 million lawsuit after she allegedly hit a man as he was crossing an Annapolis street last year, Alex Jackson reports in the Capital-Gazette.

GUN CHARGE DROPPED: Dan Morse of the Post is reporting that Montgomery County prosecutors will drop a weapons charge against a former employee of Georgetown Preparatory School because Maryland law specifically forbids guns only at public schools, not private ones.

Md CAN (Citizen Action network) ad

NEW MACO PRES: Talbot County’s longest serving council member, Tom Duncan, has been nominated to serve as president of the Maryland Association of Counties, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization of elected officials from Maryland’s 23 counties and Baltimore City, Chris Polk reports in the Easton Star Democrat.

KACH AS WALKING DEAD: Columnist Richard Cross, for his Cross Purposes blog, writes about Del. Wade Kach, whom he calls one of the walking dead – those politicians who probably should have left public life a while ago. Kach will be leaving the legislature next year, after 40 years in office. Cross writes, “Genteel and affable, Kach built a reputation among those of us in Baltimore County GOP circles as something of a lone wolf who, despite his longevity, didn’t really have much to show for all his years in Annapolis.”

BONGINO’S NEW BOOK: Len Lazarick of MarylandReporter.com writes about a new book by 6th District congressional candidate Dan Bongino, a former Secret Service agent and NYPD cop who offers several engaging chapters analyzing law enforcement and protection controversies such as “Fast and Furious,” the Benghazi attack and the Boston Marathon bombing.

2014 Calendar AD PHOTO41 ENDORSE GANSLER: The Sun’s Erin Cox reported yesterday morning that, after months of positioning himself as an outsider, Maryland’s Attorney General Doug Gansler announced 41 current and former Montgomery County elected officials back his gubernatorial campaign.

MAKE THAT 39: Later that afternoon, Cox reported that two of those endorsees had not: Del. Jeff Waldstreicher and Sen. Roger Manno, both Democrats from Montgomery County, were accidentally included in a list of 41 current and former Montgomery County politicians who backed Gansler’s bid for governor.

ERVIN SEAT: The well-connected Maryland Juice has a run-down of the chatter and potential candidates for the District 5 Montgomery County Council seat being given up in January by Valerie Ervin.

Josh Kurtz of Center Maryland writes that Ervin taking the top spot at the Working Families Party is further evidence that the progressive and tactically effective WFP, which has close ties to important labor unions and was a major player in Bill de Blasio’s insurgent victory in the New York City mayoral election this fall, is about to make major inroads into Maryland. This should have a significant impact on the looming debate in Annapolis over raising the minimum wage, on the 2014 elections, and on the future political discourse in Maryland – particularly in its largest jurisdictions.

SCHUH ON AA EXEC RACE: Del. Steve Schuh, a Republican candidate for Anne Arundel County executive, visits Center Maryland to discuss his agenda for both the county and the 2014 legislative session, as well as why he chose to run for public office.

BAG FEE FOR PG? Paper or Plastic? Either way, Prince George’s County shoppers may join their neighbors in Montgomery County and Washington D.C. in paying for their disposable bags if a bill under consideration passes, writes Jamie Anfenson-Comeau for the Gazette.