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Moore withdraws 48 appointments made by Hogan

ANNAPOLIS — More than four dozen appointments made by former Gov. Larry Hogan have been withdrawn by his Democratic successor, Gov. Wes Moore.

The 48 appointments across 23 boards and commissions include the Public Service Commission, University System of Maryland Board of Regents, Maryland Stadium Authority, state Board of Education and Commission on Judicial Disabilities. Of those names withdrawn, 35 were appointments made by outgoing Republican Gov. Larry Hogan in July.

“Governor Moore has thoughtfully and carefully put together an administration that will make Maryland a more competitive and equitable state for everyone,” said Carter Elliott, a spokesman for the governor. “The administration would like to thank these individuals for their willingness to serve, and we look forward to working with the governor’s future appointees.”

Such actions are not unusual.

In any given year a governor can make dozens of recess appointments. Many come before the Senate for review and confirmation. In July, Hogan announced more than 300 such recess appointments.

That work continues even as one governor is preparing to leave office and make way for a new administration, as was the case for Hogan, a Republican, and Moore, a Democrat.

The incoming governor then has the ability to rescind some or all of those appointments.

“It’s customary for an incoming administration to review recess appointments,” said Elliott. “We reviewed each of the 265 that Gov. Hogan submitted and withdrew 48, more than twice the standard 20 or so during a transition in administration. This is the first of an ongoing effort to expand representation and for more Marylanders to have the opportunity to serve.”

The 25-member Maryland Economic Development Commission took the largest hit with Moore withdrawing eight nominations.

Moore also withdrew three names from the state’s Police Training and Standards Commission including Salisbury Police Chief Barbara Duncan.

Two of Hogan’s appointments to the five-member Public Service Commission are on the list. The panel regulates and oversees public utilities and transportation services within Maryland.

Moore also withdrew the nomination of two appointments to the state’s Commission on African American History and Culture including Torrey Snow, a conservative talk radio personality.

Other withdrawn appointments have closer Hogan connections.

The new governor withdrew the reappointment of Tom Kelso as chair of the Maryland Stadium Authority.

The authority oversees the state’s professional sports stadiums in Baltimore as well as other venues around the state. It also is responsible for managing the construction of a number of new schools in Baltimore and a new Department of Legislative Services building in Annapolis. The agency is also involved in supporting sports and entertainment projects along the Blue Line corridor in Prince George’s County.

Kelso, the chair of the panel, was Hogan’s campaign chair and gave thousands to the Republican governor’s various campaigns. He also made donations to Democrats including Senate President Bill Ferguson, Sen. Guy Guzzone, the Senate Budget and Taxation chairman, and former Baltimore Mayors Sheila Dixon and Catherine Pugh. 

Moore also withdrew the appointment of David McManus to the Commission on Judicial Disabilities.

McManus, an attorney at Baxter Baker, previously served as chair of the Maryland State Board of Elections. He was part of a group of named defendants in a lawsuit that successfully challenged a state law requiring news organizations to keep records related to online election ads. A federal judge struck down the law as a violation of the First Amendment.

Also withdrawn was the appointment of attorney Stephanie M. Meighan to the state Board of Contract Appeals. Meighan twice served in the Hogan administration including a stint as deputy legal counsel to Hogan until her appointment in July.

Moore also withdrew the names of two of the six appointments to the University System of Maryland Board of Regents – Julie Oberg and Edward McDonald. Both were appointed in July.

Oberg was formerly the deputy secretary of the Department of Agriculture.

McDonald retired in 2019 as chief of staff to Maryland Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn.