2 of­fi­cials sue for their salaries

State trea­surer re­fuses to pay them

The Washington Times Daily - - METRO - BY BRIAN WITTE

AN­NAPO­LIS | Mary­land’s health sec­re­tary and the head of the state’s Depart­ment of Plan­ning filed a law­suit Thurs­day over the state trea­surer’s re­fusal to pay their salaries be­cause they have not re­ceived Se­nate con­fir­ma­tion.

The move sets up a le­gal fight over the con­sti­tu­tional pow­ers of the leg­isla­tive and ex­ec­u­tive branches of gov­ern­ment.

Health Sec­re­tary Den­nis Schrader and Plan­ning Sec­re­tary Wendi Peters filed the law­suit against Trea­surer Nancy Kopp in Anne Arun­del County Cir­cuit Court.

The law­suit al­leges it was un­con­sti­tu­tional for the leg­is­la­ture to add lan­guage to the state bud­get specif­i­cally to make the salaries of the two depart­ment heads con­tin­gent on the Se­nate’s ap­prov­ing their nom­i­na­tions by Gov. Larry Ho­gan.

“The ac­tions of the Gen­eral As­sem­bly vi­o­lated the sep­a­ra­tion of pow­ers pro­vi­sion of the Mary­land Dec­la­ra­tion of Rights, un­law­fully ex­ceed­ing its bud­getary power, and en­act­ing an un­con­sti­tu­tional spe­cial law,” the law­suit said.

The law­suit in­volves a bat­tle be­tween the Repub­li­can gov­er­nor and the Se­nate, which is con­trolled by Democrats and has con­fir­ma­tion pow­ers over the gov­er­nor’s Cab­i­net ap­point­ments.

Mr. Ho­gan ap­pointed Mr. Schrader and Ms. Peters last year, when the leg­is­la­ture was not in ses­sion. He sub­mit­ted their names to the Se­nate Ex­ec­u­tive Nom­i­na­tions Com­mit­tee on the first day of this year’s ses­sion in Jan­uary.

The panel voted against send­ing Ms. Peters’ nom­i­na­tion to the full Se­nate in March, but Mr. Ho­gan with­drew her nom­i­na­tion be­fore the Se­nate could vote to re­ject her nom­i­na­tion. Mr. Schrader’s nom­i­na­tion never re­ceived a vote by the com­mit­tee or the Se­nate, and Mr. Ho­gan with­drew his nom­i­na­tion as well.

In an­tic­i­pa­tion the gov­er­nor would reap­point them, law­mak­ers this year de­cided to in­clude lan­guage in the state bud­get that pro­hib­ited pay­ment to sec­re­taries who were serv­ing be­fore this year’s leg­isla­tive ses­sion and who did not re­ceive Se­nate con­fir­ma­tion.

How­ever, the law­suit con­tends leg­is­la­tors wrongly sin­gled out Mr. Schrader and Ms. Peters.

“Be­cause the Gen­eral As­sem­bly ac­tu­ally in­tended to dis­crim­i­nate against the Plain­tiffs by de­priv­ing them of the com­pen­sa­tion ac­corded to their fel­low ex­ec­u­tive ap­pointees, and has in fact cre­ated and af­fected a closed class of the two Plain­tiffs, the Gen­eral As­sem­bly has passed an un­con­sti­tu­tional law,” the law­suit says.

The day af­ter the leg­isla­tive ses­sion ended April 10, Mr. Ho­gan reap­pointed Mr. Schrader and Ms. Peters to their po­si­tions. The law­suit ar­gues that the state’s Con­sti­tu­tion does not pro­hibit the gov­er­nor to reap­point can­di­dates whose nom­i­na­tions he with­drew.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.