No O’Malley administration ‘brain drain,’ expert says

Gov. Martin O’Malley has lost three top aides and three department secretaries in the last year, but a University of Maryland, Baltimore County political scientist says that’s not a big deal.

“It all depends on the replacement,” said Donald F. Norris, chair of the Department of Public Policy at UMBC. “If the replacements are qualified, there’s no brain drain.”

Matthew D. Gallagher, O’Malley’s chief of staff, became the latest departure Thursday when he announced plans to take over as CEO of the nonprofit Goldseker Foundation. Department of Natural Resources Secretary John R. Griffin will replace Gallagher.

Joseph C. Bryce — the administration’s top lobbyist in the General Assembly — joined Annapolis-based Manis Canning & Associates last November and Rick Abbruzzese, the governor’s director of public affairs and perhaps his closest adviser, joined Annapolis-based Rifkin, Livingston, Levitan & Silver LLC as a partner last December.

Department of Business and Economic Development Secretary Christian S. Johansson left in January to join Baltimore-based Laureate Education Inc., Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation Secretary Alexander M. Sanchez departed last May to become Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s chief of staff and Maryland Department of Transportation Secretary Beverley K. Swaim-Staley resigned last July and was then named president of the Union Station Redevelopment Corp.

“This is not at all unusual for the second half of the second term of a term-limited governor,” Norris said.

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