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David Lever (File)

Lever resigns Md. school construction post

The head of the state commission that oversees school construction tendered his resignation Wednesday just hours after a heated and controversial Board of Public Works meeting.

David Lever, executive director of the Interagency Committee on School Construction,  announced his Sept. 1 resignation in a scathing two-page letter. Lever said the Wednesday board meeting was the last straw, and he laid specific blame on Gov. Larry Hogan and Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot.

(Read Lever’s resignation letter.)

“It appears that the Board of Public Works intends to use its authority over capital funding to compel school systems to meet its objectives, irrespective of whether those objectives align with local priorities and the recommendations of the (committee),” Lever wrote. “It also appears that a majority of the Board of Public Works members have no interest in being informed on critical matters by local school superintendents and other school officials, the individuals who have the responsibility to weigh the complex factors that intersect around school facilities and to determine the outcomes that best meet the needs of their students and their communities. The disrespect with which these dedicated, serious officials were treated at the meeting of May 11 is no less than astonishing.”

“I find that I cannot be a party to this degradation of a school construction program that I have worked hard to advance in professionalism and comprehensiveness,” Lever continued.

Lever wrote that the date of his resignation “does not correspond to my personal preferences but reflects the need for an orderly hand-over of the many programs and projects for which I bear responsibility.”

Spokesmen for Hogan and Franchot, respectively, said neither the governor nor the comptroller had personally seen the resignation letter. They declined to comment.

“Based on his actions and his own words, it is clear that David Lever doesn’t believe the BPW should have the ability to exercise its legal duty to provide fiscal oversight and to hold state executives, like himself, accountable for their actions,” said Douglass Mayer, a hogan spokesman. “The governor strongly disagrees with that type of entitled and irresponsible mindset and wishes him the best of luck in his future endeavors.”

Lever’s resignation comes nearly two weeks after he told the 28-member, legislatively appointed 21st Century School Facilities Commission that he was the executive director of the program “at least for now.”

In an interview with The Daily Record, Lever acknowledged that his job was potentially in jeopardy as Hogan potentially gains control of the five-member commission that can hire or fire the executive director.

Lever declined to comment on the specifics of his relationship with Hogan or Franchot but acknowledged that his appearances before the Board of Public Works over the last 18 months have been occasionally difficult.

“They haven’t been kind to me,” Lever said. “I’ve seen that.”

Lever then hinted that he might choose when he left the position he has held since 2003.

“I have my own life,” Lever said. “I have to make my own decisions.”