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Eye on Annapolis

The Daily Record's Maryland state government blog

Hogan shuffle: Malhotra out as chief of staff, Clark returns

Gov. Larry Hogan is replacing his chief of staff after less than a year in what some say is a sign the first-term Republican is preparing for his expected 2018 re-election campaign.

Sam Malhotra, Gov. Larry Hogan's chief of staff and former secretary of the Department of Human Resources, speaks as Hogan looks on. (The Daily Record / Bryan P. Sears)

Sam Malhotra, Gov. Larry Hogan’s soon-to-be-ex-chief of staff. (The Daily Record / Bryan P. Sears)

Sam Malhotra, who was named to the position in October, will depart the administration Aug. 15. Replacing him will be Matt Clark, Hogan’s former communications director, who left the administration a year ago.

“Sam Malhotra’s leadership and management abilities have been a tremendous benefit to our team since the beginning of our administration,” Hogan said in an emailed statement.

Clark, who will replace Malhotra, will be paid $198,000. Malhotra earned $179,000 annually.

The announcement drew criticisms from some who compared the move the President Donald Trump hiring Anthony Scaramucci as his new communications director.

Malhotra previously served as Hogan’s secretary of the Department of Human Resources.

Hogan’s release said Malhotra will “return to the private sector, while continuing to serve the administration as a senior adviser to the governor on technology and innovation issues.”

Douglass Mayer, a Hogan spokesman, said the new advisory position is unpaid and that Malhotra will assist with Hogan’s MD THINK project — $200 million technology upgrade to the state’s social services agencies.

Clark, who served as Hogan’s first communications director, will return by mid-August, though Mayer said it could be sooner to provide some overlap before Malhotra leaves.

Hogan is expected to run for a second term and a chance to become the first two-term Republican governor in the state since Theodore McKeldin.

The governor, however, has remained coy about his future plans. Last week, while attending the J. Millard Tawes Crab and Clam Bake, Hogan said he had made no decisions and would make no announcement until sometime next year.

More than a half-dozen Democrats have already announced or filed to run in that party’s primary. Others say they are considering running.

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