O’Don­nell leav­ing del­e­gate seat for ap­point­ment

Mor­gan in­ter­ested in District 29C va­cancy

Maryland Independent - - News - By JASON BAB­COCK jbab­cock@somd­news.com

Del. Tony O’Don­nell (R-St. Mary’s, Calvert) will be step­ping down from his elected po­si­tion this sum­mer, as Gov. Larry Ho­gan (R) will be ap­point­ing him to the Mary­land Public Ser­vice Com­mis­sion, which over­sees util­i­ties in the state.

O’Don­nell, first elected as del­e­gate in 1994, said he will make a for­mal an­nounce­ment next week about the move. The gover­nor’s of­fice con­firmed the ap­point­ment Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon.

O’Don­nell said, “This is still public ser­vice to me. Like Ec­cle­si­astes said, ‘There is a time for every­thing.’”

The Lusby res­i­dent is to take the new post ei­ther in July or Au­gust, join­ing the five-mem­ber Public Ser­vice Com­mis­sion for a fiveyear term. The mem­bers serve full time and are paid $139,364 a year, ac­cord­ing to the PSC.

“I know that [O’Don­nell] will be very thought­ful as a mem­ber of the [Public Ser­vice Com­mis­sion]. He will do his home­work. It’s a good fit. I’m pleased that we got a South­ern Mary­land rep­re­sen­ta­tive” on the Public Ser­vice Com­mis­sion, said John Bo­hanan, for­mer Demo­cratic del­e­gate who served with O’Don­nell from 1999 to 2014.

Sen. Steve Waugh (R-St. Mary’s, Calvert) said O’Don­nell is “quite well qual­i­fied to per­form on the sub­ject. He is per­son­ally well versed and I think he has seen a great deal of leg­is­la­tion come and go over the years so he’s go­ing to do a good job, and I’m re­ally ex­cited for him.”

Once O’Don­nell gives up his job in the state leg­is­la­ture, the Calvert and St. Mary’s Repub­li­can cen­tral com­mit­tees will col­lab­o­rate on an in­terim ap­point­ment to fill out the re­main­der of his term. The gover­nor will make the ap­point­ment based on a list or lists of Repub­li­cans to be sub­mit­ted by the cen­tral com­mit­tees. Then there will a reg­u­lar elec­tion for the seat in 2018.

Two-term St. Mary’s County Com­mis­sioner Todd Mor­gan (R), a res­i­dent of Lex­ing­ton Park, said he is “re­ally in­ter­ested” in the ap­point­ment as a state del­e­gate.

The Calvert Repub­li­can Cen­tral Com­mit­tee could sub­mit three names, while the St. Mary’s County Repub­li­can Cen­tral Com­mit­tee could sub­mit three names as well. Or the two cen­tral com­mit­tees could com­bine their ef­forts and sub­mit one list with three names on it, said Julie Burk-Greer, chair of the St. Mary’s County Repub­li­can Cen­tral Com­mit­tee.

“The gover­nor wants op­tions, choices,” she said this week. “We are hop­ing qual­i­fied peo­ple will ap­ply.” Ap­pli­cants do not have to be cur­rent public of­fi­cials, but they must sub­mit re­sumes ex­plain­ing why they are qual­i­fied for the job, which pays $43,500.

And though Mor­gan is in­ter­ested in the ap­point­ment, oth­ers are en­cour­aged to ap­ply so long as they are reg­is­tered Repub­li­cans who have lived in the 29C leg­isla­tive district for at least six months. The district in­cludes south­ern Calvert and cen­tral St. Mary’s coun­ties.

“It’s not a shoo-in,” Burk-Greer said, just be­cause a sit­ting county com­mis­sioner is in­ter­ested in the job. “This is an open process. We can’t se­lect just one” name.

“I ex­pect to re­ceive a lot of re­sumes,” she said.

There were 11,969 Repub­li­cans in District 29C two years ago, ac­cord­ing to the Mary­land State Board of Elec­tions, and 9,584 Democrats and 5,602 un­af­fil­i­ated vot­ers.

There were 6,605 Repub­li­cans in the St. Mary’s County por­tion of the district and 5,364 in Calvert County.

Bo­hanan was some­times at odds with O’Don­nell at the Gen­eral As­sem­bly. “You could dis­agree with Tony, but in the end, he al­ways re­spected the process and the in­sti­tu­tion of the Mary­land Gen­eral As­sem­bly,” Bo­hanan said. “He was re­spected by many, if not all, the col­leagues he served with. There were times when we ran on dif­fer­ent sides of is­sues, but Tony was al­ways good to work with on lo­cal is­sues to make sure that we got things done.”


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