O’Donnell leaving delegate seat for appointment
Morgan interested in District 29C vacancy
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.”
DEL. TONY O’DONNELL