STATE SUPER REJECTS BA CO SUPER: Maryland’s top public education official blocked the appointment of Verletta White as Baltimore County’s school superintendent, citing White’s recent ethics violations and the school system’s failure to conduct an audit of the way it awards contracts, Liz Bowie and Doug Donovan of the Sun report.
- The editorial board of the Sun opines that Maryland Schools Superintendent Karen Salmon’s rejection of Verletta White just doesn’t add up. “If what Ms. White did was so egregious that she cannot be the permanent superintendent, then she shouldn’t be the interim one either. If that’s the case, she should be escorted out of Greenwood immediately.”
- Andy Green of the Sun lists six things you should know about White’s rejection as permanent super, including that Salmon said she would agree to appoint White to another year as interim superintendent and would be willing to reconsider her permanent appointment after the audit is complete.
- Here’s Tim Tooten’s report for WBAL-TV.
KAMENETZ BLAMES HOGAN: The state’s decision not to confirm Verletta White as Baltimore County schools superintendent set off a round of political finger-pointing on Wednesday. Democratic Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, a supporter of White, claimed that Republican Gov. Larry Hogan directed the state superintendent to veto White’s appointment. Aides to Hogan rejected the claim, Pamela Wood and Michael Dresser of the Sun report.
- In an opinion piece for Red Maryland, Brian Griffiths calls Kamenetz “Kevin the Clueless,” writing “If Kamenetz’s comments … sound like a desperate cry for attention for a candidate that is sinking fast in the polls, that’s because they are. Kamenetz’s comments are absolutely clueless in two ways.”
ON SUPERINTENDENT SALMON: In light of all this, Talia Richman of the Sun profiles Superintendent Salmon, writing “She was named the state’s top public education official in May 2016, after spending more than three decades as an educator on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. She launched her career as a special education teacher in Caroline County Public Schools, before moving over to serve in Talbot County. She was named Talbot’s superintendent in 2003, and awarded the state’s Superintendent of the Year award in 2012.”
OAKS TO STAY ON BALLOT: Maryland’s highest court ruled Wednesday that former state Sen. Nathaniel T. Oaks’ name will remain on the 41st District ballot in the June 26 Democratic primary election, despite his pleading guilty to two federal felonies and later cancelling his voter registration, reports William Zorzi for Maryland Matters.
- By a 5-2 vote, the Court of Appeals ordered the Anne Arundel County Circuit Court to dismiss a legal action brought by three of Oaks’ former constituents to have him removed from the ballot. The court sided with the state Board of Elections, which had argued that ordering a change would disrupt the statewide election process, reports Ian Duncan for the Sun.
- Steve Lash of the Daily Record writes that Oaks, who pleaded guilty to fraud in March, attempted last month to withdraw his name as a listed candidate but missed statutory deadlines for removal.
CRAB HOUSES IN CRISIS: Scott Dance of the Sun reports that Maryland’s seafood industry is in crisis: Nearly half of the Eastern Shore’s crab houses have no workers to pick the meat sold in restaurants and supermarkets. They failed to get visas for their mostly Mexican work force, including many women who have been coming north to Maryland for crab season for as long as two decades. The Trump administration for the first time awarded them this year in a lottery, instead of on a first-come, first-served basis.
IMMIGRATION DEBATE IN MO CO: Jennifer Barrios of the Post writes that the national debate over federal immigration policies landed in Montgomery County this week, with dozens of residents testifying before the County Council on whether the state’s most populous county should spend taxpayer dollars to provide lawyers to immigrants facing deportation.
LITTLE CONTACT BEFORE DISCOVERY MOVE: Maryland government officials had little more than a month to try to convince Discovery Communications to remain in downtown Silver Spring after the company notified them shortly after Thanksgiving that it was considering leaving the state. During that time, Gov. Larry Hogan spoke by phone once with Discovery CEO David Zaslav — on Dec. 8 — before the multimedia company announced Jan. 9 it would vacate its Silver Spring headquarters. He did not meet with Zaslav, the head of one of the state’s four Fortune 500 companies, Andrew Metcalf of Bethesda Beat reports.
FRANCHOT, HOGAN DIG IN AGAINST NEW LAW: Comptroller Peter Franchot Wednesday vowed to continue to scrutinize and question school construction projects despite a new law that removes him and the Board of Public Works from any oversight of such projects, Bryan Sears of the Daily Record reports. The comptroller and Gov. Larry Hogan raised the issue of the new law again, and their desire to see it repealed, during a review of an $86 million request for two schools in Baltimore City being built by the Maryland Stadium Authority.