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Tax collectors are cool, too

Left to right: Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp, Gov. Martin O'Malley and Comptroller Peter "Joe Cool" Franchot

Move over, Joe Cool. Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot may have you beat.

The state’s tax collector, a likely candidate for governor when Martin O’Malley’s term expires after 2014, has already perfected the rebelliously-cool no-tie look.

At Wednesday’s biweekly meeting of the Board of Public Works, Franchot took cool to the next level, wearing a pair of dark shades as he questioned presenters and agency heads about such cool topics as electronic tolling and the state’s environmentally-reasoned purchase of land in Garrett County.

Franchot says he’s not trying to be cool, which makes sense, because cool people don’t need to try. Rather, a pair of medical issues have forced him into his cool appearance.

In May, he joked he wasn’t wearing a necktie because of “politician’s elbow,” a condition closely related to tennis elbow, brought on by shaking too many hands. Symptoms include the inability to knot a tie, he said apologetically.

And on Wednesday, the shades only came out after Franchot said the light in the Governor’s Reception Room was too bright for his eyes, which recently underwent laser surgery.

That’s OK, Mr. Comptroller. Judging by the approving laughter Wednesday, your wardrobe choices are cool with your audience.