State Roundup: Maryland adds 53,900 jobs in July; jobless rate drops to 7.6%

State Roundup: Maryland adds 53,900 jobs in July; jobless rate drops to 7.6%

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53,900 JOBS IN JULY: Maryland added 53,900 jobs in July and the state’s unemployment rate dropped from 8% to 7.6%, according to preliminary data released by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday morning, Bryan Renbaum reports for Maryland Reporter. The state added 68,300 jobs in June. The national unemployment rate is at 10.2%.

HISTORY OF PAYOUTS, BONUSES AT ENVIRO AGENCY: The Maryland Environmental Service — whose former director is under scrutiny for a six-figure payout as he left to head Gov. Larry Hogan’s staff — has a history of paying large severances and bonuses to executives. Besides the large payout, former director Roy McGrath regularly received tens of thousands of dollars in bonuses at the agency, which is funded by public money from sources such as contracts with local governments and federal grants, Pamela Wood of the Sun reports.

GROUPS BLAST HOGAN ADMIN ON ENVIRO JUSTICE: Elizabeth Shwe of Maryland Matters writes that Assateague Coastal Trust, along with eight other Maryland organizations and community leaders, penned a letter to Hogan last week, denouncing the Maryland Department of the Environment for its failure to advance environmental justice initiatives and the governor for lack of leadership.

COPPIN HOLDS SOME IN-PERSON CLASSES: As students return to campus, Coppin State bears the weight of keeping its community safe from the coronavirus as some in-person classes and lectures resume, Hallie Miller of the Sun reports. The West Baltimore university is one of the few still planning to start the semester with some in-person classes.

TOWSON U. SWITCHES TO ONLINE FOR FIRST WEEK: Towson University announced Saturday that it is switching to all online classes for the first week of the fall semester after discovering a significant number of new coronavirus cases on campus last week, Pamela Wood and Taylor DeVille of the Sun report.

ELECTION JUDGE HOPEFULS AWAIT RESPONSE: The message has been loud and clear: Maryland has a shortage of election judges, typically older adults who have opted out this year because of increased health risk from the COVID-19 pandemic. But, reports Emily Opilo for the Sun, some people across the state who have applied for the positions say they’ve been put off or received no response.

HOW TO VOTE IN NOVEMBER: The Sun staff continues to address questions about voting in this November’s General Election.

DEL. ANDERTON LOSES TO CARDIOLOGIST: Del. Carl L. Anderton Jr. (R) Thursday unexpectedly fell short of winning appointment as the next Wicomico County executive — losing out to Rene Desmarais, a Salisbury-based cardiologist with little political experience outside of a losing bid for the House of Delegates in 2014, Louis Peck reports for Maryland Matters.

OPINION: ANDERTON SHOULD HAVE BEEN NAMED: In a column for his Duckpin blog, Brian Griffiths writes that its was incredibly shortsighted to pass on Anderton. … was also very clear that Anderton had put a lot of thought into being county executive and had a support of a huge portion of those attending the meeting.

KLACIK TO SPEAK AT GOP CONVENTION: Kim Klacik, the Republican running to represent Maryland’s 7th Congressional District whose recent ad broke through to a national audience last week when President Donald Trump shared it with his millions of Twitter followers, is scheduled to speak during the first night of the Republican National Convention, Talia Richman of the Sun reports.

KLACIK BLASTS SUN EDITORIAL BOARD: In a letter to the editor, Klacik takes the editorial board of the Sun to task for a recent editorial dismissing her candidacy. She reminds the Sun that “I am the Republican nominee for a contested congressional race where the Democratic nominee was pushed out of the NAACP, according to your reporting, amid allegations of sexual harassment, nepotism and mismanagement.”

RALLIES IN SUPPORT OF POSTAL SERVICE: Denise Gilmore has advocated for a variety of causes, but she never imagined rallying on behalf of mail delivery, Jeff Barker reports in the Sun. But there she was, at a noisy demonstration Saturday, shouting out support for mail service and postal workers along with Baltimore City Council President Brandon Scott and about 100 others outside the U.S. Postal Service processing and distribution center in Baltimore’s Jonestown neighborhood.

  • Reporting for the Capital Gazette, Olivia Sanchez writes that about 60 masked demonstrators gathered Saturday morning on a patch of grass outside the post office in Crofton to call for the preservation of the United States Postal Service.

ANTON BLACK’s FAMILY PUSHES FOR POLICE ACCOUNTABILITY: Nearly two years after the in-custody death of Anton Black, a black Eastern Shore teen, family members and advocates are pushing lawmakers on a newly formed police accountability work group for comprehensive police reform legislation, Glynis Kazanjian reports for Annapolis Spy.

MOSBY REFUSES RECORDS REQUEST: Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby has refused a request by the Sun to make public emails that mention her private businesses and are stored on her government computer, Tim Prudente reports for the Sun. Mosby argued that they are exempt from disclosure because they are part of an investigation by Baltimore’s inspector general; aren’t related to state business and “contain information about the finances of an individual.”

OPINION: LONG STRETCH OF PURPLE LINE PROBLEMS: In an opinion piece for Bethesda Beat, resident Amanda Farber opines that “for a complex project described as the largest public-private partnership transit undertaking in North America, and touted as the answer to the area’s economic development dreams, the possibility of a collapsed contract appears devastating on paper. It is even more disastrous to see in person.”

LEGAL AID UNION SEEKS ATTORNEYS’ REINSTATEMENT: Maryland Legal Aid’s employees’ union is urging the National Labor Relations Board to order four fired supervisory attorneys to be reinstated, saying they were illegally terminated for having raised concerns about MLA’s back-to-the-office order amid the pandemic, Steve Lash reports in the Daily Record.

STU SIMMS NAMED CHIEF COUNSEL AT LEGAL AID: Stuart “Stu” Simms, a former Baltimore City State’s Attorney and longtime advocate for the indigent, was named chief counsel of Maryland Legal Aid on Monday – the free legal services firm where he began his career 47 years ago, Steve Lash reports in the Daily Record.

‘SPECIAL PERMIT’ ALLOWS VP PENCE TO USE FT. McHENRY: The Maryland Republican Party received a “special use” permit allowing Vice President Mike Pence to use Baltimore’s historic Fort McHenry — a National Park Service property — as a backdrop for his political address next week at the Republican National Convention, Jeff Barker writes for the Sun.

WA CO HAS BUDGET SURPLUS: Washington County government might end up with a surplus for the most recent fiscal year despite the COVID-19 pandemic affecting some revenues, Chief Financial Officer Sara Greaves said. Julie Greene reports for the Hagerstown Herald-Mail that the surprising outlook comes after the county received its last two distributions from the state of estimated income-tax revenue, money from withholding taxes paid during April, May and June.

3 POLICE OFFICERS SHOT IN PRINCE GEORGE’S: Three police officers were shot Sunday while responding to a call in Prince George’s County, officials said. Two people were taken into custody, report Katie Mettler and Martin Weil for the Post. The officers are “going to be fine” after being taken to a hospital, interim county police chief Hector Velez said Sunday night. They suffered “various degrees of injuries,” he said, but “are in good spirits.”

About The Author

Cynthia Prairie

Contributing Editor Cynthia Prairie has been a newspaper editor since 1979, when she began working at The Raleigh Times. Since then, she has worked for The Baltimore News American, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Prince George’s Journal and Baltimore County newspapers in the Patuxent Publishing chain, including overseeing The Jeffersonian when it was a two-day a week business publication. Cynthia has won numerous state awards, including the Maryland State Bar Association’s Gavel Award. Besides compiling and editing the daily State Roundup, she runs her own online news outlet, The Chester Telegraph. If you have additional questions or comments contact Cynthia at: cynthiaprairie@gmail.com

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