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Franchot: Md. government should start on time

State Comptroller Peter Franchot (Photo: Maryland State Archives)

It’s something of an inside joke in the State House that the biweekly Board of Public Works meeting — scheduled every other Wednesday for 10 a.m. — starts on time if it begins by about 10:20.

For state Comptroller Peter Franchot, though, the joke must be getting old.

Sitting alone at his seat just after 10 a.m. Wednesday — with Gov. Martin O’Malley and Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp yet to arrive — Franchot said he had made attempts to get the board meetings to start on time, to no avail.

Franchot, who appeared to either be campaigning or trying out a stand-up comedy routine, then praised the Washington Capitals hockey team and its owner, Ted Leonsis, who the comptroller said recently moved to Maryland from Virginia.

“He said my accountant and my lawyer came in, got down on their hands and knees and begged me not to move to Maryland,” Franchot said. “Despite that, he’s here.”

When the crowd didn’t immediately laugh, Franchot said that was “an inside joke about high taxes” in Maryland. He did draw laughter when he said he wasn’t wearing a tie because he had “politician’s elbow” — a condition he said was brought on by shaking too many hands.

Franchot got in one last dig before ending his monologue, referencing potential special legislative sessions this summer and again noting that the board meetings should start at the scheduled time.

“Hopefully, the sessions will happen on time and this meeting will happen on time at some point,” Franchot said. “This government should be able to start on time.”

The meeting, by the way, began at 10:17 a.m.