O’Malley’s final BPW meeting — smiles, applause and budget cuts

Twice a month for eight years, Gov. Martin O’Malley has presided over the Board of Public Works. Its three members all describe it as a unique institution in American state government where three independently elected state officials get to review every major government contract and purchase, from health insurance and prison food service to university dorms and wetland permits. Wednesday was O’Malley’s last session as governor, and at Comptroller Peter Franchot’s suggestion, the audience gave O’Malley a standing ovation.

Rascovar: Hogan has unappetizing choices

The New Year belongs to the victors, like Gov.-elect Larry Hogan, Jr. But reality will set in quickly once hard, unappetizing choices pit campaign pledges against on-the-ground reality. Examples include the Purple Line and the Red Line transit projects, school construction and the film tax credit.

Private sector experience a key quality of Hogan cabinet picks

In introducing his nominees for another six cabinet posts Tuesday, Gov.-elect Larry Hogan Jr. emphasized again that they were “talented, diverse and bipartisan.” But in addition to some government experience relevant to their new jobs — often in the Ehrlich administration that Hogan served as well — the governor-elect would always point out another quality the appointees had in common — private sector experience.

Hogan continues outreach to Franchot, Democrats, groups

Gov.-elect Hogan continues to work on his relationship with Comptroller Peter Franchot, who holds a key vote on the three-member Board of Public Works, which will review all of the major contracts of the Hogan administration. Hogan has continued to meet with key Democrats, office holders and interest groups throughout the state as he prepares to take office in a month and submit a budget.

Assembly leaders confer with speaker at rostrum during special session.

Speaker Busch makes House committee assignments

House Speaker Michael Busch late Friday announced committee assignments for six standing committees in the House of Delegates, giving 58 new delegates the spots where they will spend most of their time as legislators.

Most incumbent delegates kept their current assignments, but six incumbent Democrats moved over to the Economic Matters Committee, the most shifts for any committee.

Rascovar: Abolishing Maryland’s Lt. Governor –Part II

Rutherford gets sworn in next month as Maryland’s lieutenant governor, a toothless-tiger of a job.

He’ll have no constitutional powers. He’ll have to follow in lockstep the wishes and policies of the governor and praise the governor’s every move. He’ll be totally dependent on the governor for real work assignments. Abolishing it will save $1 million.

Rascovar: Caret comes home

Hooray for the University of Maryland Board of Regents for making a common-sense choice in choosing Bob Caret as the new chancellor of Maryland’s state university system. He’s got the right personality to keep 12 competing academic institutions on the same page.

Hogan names first four cabinet secretaries; Caret to become university chancellor

Gov.-elect Larry Hogan named his first four cabinet secretaries Wednesday. He pulled another Republican lawmaker from the legislature for his team, naming Frederick County Del. Kelly Schulz to be labor secretary, but he also retained a current O’Malley administration appointee, keeping Sam Abed on as secretary of Juvenile Services.

Perhaps the most important state official to be named yesterday, also crucial to the success of the Hogan administration in stimulating economic growth, was done by the Board of Regents of the University System of Maryland, which announced that Bob Caret, former president of Towson University and current president of the University of Massachusetts system, would become chancellor of the state colleges and university, replacing Brit Kirwan, who is retiring.