Photo above: From left, Lt. Gov.-elect Boyd Rutherford, Juvenile Services Secretary Sam Abed, Del. Kelly Schulz named as new DLLR secretary, Gov.-elect Larry Hogan, consultant Gail Bassette named as DGS secretary and Bel Air administrator Jim Fielder named as appointments secretary and James Brady, co-chair of the Hogan transition team.
By Len Lazarick
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, one of the most consistently troubled agencies in past years.
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. The board 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.
Like Kirwan, who came up through the ranks at the University of Maryland College Park before becoming president of the Ohio State University, Caret spent 29 years at Towson as a faculty member, dean, executive vice president and provost, before becoming president of San Jose State University in California, an important institution in Silicon Valley, for eight years.
Caret was then lured back to Maryland, spending eight years from 2003 to 2011 as president of Towson University, the second largest institution in the university system with over 22,000 students. Towson saw significant growth during those years.
One of Caret’s first duties as he comes on the job in July may be to choose another Towson president. According to a source close to the university, Towson University President Maravene Loeschke, who has been on medical leave, is expected to officially resign the post after graduation exercises Friday afternoon. Tim Chandler has been acting president.
Hogan praises choice of Caret
While the regents appointed by Gov. Martin O’Malley, and not Hogan, chose the new chancellor, Hogan had high praise for the selection.
“Bob is a national leader in innovation in education, with an incredible track record of success, and is the perfect choice for this critical role,” Hogan said in a statement. “As a former president of Towson University, he has a deep knowledge of our state, and I want to welcome him back home to Maryland and let him know how much I look forward to working with him as a partner to advance public higher education in Maryland.”
Towson had strong connections to the Ehrlich administration in which Hogan served as appointments secretary.
Hogan named Jim Fiedler as his own appointments secretary, who handles appointments to state boards and commissions. Fiedler was secretary of the Department of Labor, Licensing and Inspection in the Ehrlich years and currently town administrator of Bel Air in Harford County.
Hogan joked the job as appointments secretary was clearly a stepping stone to higher office.
Hogan also named Gail Bassette, president and CEO of TCE, Inc., a Laurel management consulting firm, as head of the Department of General Services, which manages state facilities.
Schulz was recently reelected to the House of Delegates for a second term, as was Sen. Joe Getty of Carroll County, who Hogan has named as his legislative and policy director.
The Republican Central Committees of Carroll and Frederick counties will get to nominate Republicans to replace Schulz and Getty, who will then be named by Hogan after he becomes governor.