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FOR SALE: Cars once driven by governor's staffers

FOR SALE. MUST GO. PRICED TO MOVE. ALMOST NEW. BUY ME.

Those were among the signs adorning a small fleet of cars parked outside the State House this morning in a bit of political theater orchestrated by Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) and his staff.

With the cars as a backdrop, O'Malley announced that the Governor's Office is giving up half of the 24 state-owned cars it had been assigned under former Republican governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and that no one would have take-home privileges with their vehicles, as did nine of Ehrlich's staffers.

O'Malley estimated the move could save the state $36,000 and set an example for others in government as Maryland confronts a deficit next year of nearly $1.5 billion. O'Malley last week ordered his Cabinet departments to start making an initial round of cuts that he said will exceed $200 million.

"We believe it is our responsibility to lead by example," O'Malley said of his office's fleet reduction.

O'Malley said that two of Ehrlich's staff members -- his director of communications, Paul E. Schurick, and press secretary, Greg Massoni -- had been issued state-owned, unmarked police cars during their tenure, a practice that would not continue.

"This means, for example, that Steve and Rick are not going be driving around in unmarked (Maryland Transit Authority) police cars, like their predecessors did," O'Malley said, referring to his communications director, Steve Kearney, and his press secretary, Rick Abbruzzese, who were standing nearby.

Both Kearney and Abbruzzese reported that they drive their own cars to work every day.

Henry Fawell, a former Ehrlich spokesman who said he was speaking yesterday on behalf of Schurick and Massoni, said he did not know what cars they drove.

"I walked to work so I don't know," said Fawell, an Annapolis resident, adding: "We are puzzled and flattered and entertained that the new governor would spend this much time thinking of us."

The cars shed by O'Malley's office will either be sold or redeployed, he said.

By John Wagner  |  May 16, 2007; 1:58 PM ET
Categories:  John Wagner  
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Comments

36K here, 36K there, pretty soon you hve real money. I'm 64 and work every day. Why should the state of Maryland or the counties for that matter pay "retirement" benefits to anyone in their forties or less than 55 years of age? If they have another job, they are not retired, but, rather double dipping. They did not serve in life-threatening combat. These retirement benefits should not be paid before age 55. Also, where is the proof that the Thornton billions are making any change in the educational achievements. Where is the cost benefit analysis? What return is the state getting on its investments? Couldn't it do better? Don't talk about petty savings if you plan to back them up with large tax increases you didn't mention before the recent election.

Posted by: Robin Ficker | May 16, 2007 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of double dipping. Is the new Gaithersburg police chief going to be drawing retirement pay for having been a Montgomery County police officer while he is, at the same time, being well paid as Gaithersburg's chief?

Posted by: G-burger | May 16, 2007 8:32 PM | Report abuse

O'Malley is a saint, I mean giving up 12 cars that could drive him around, what an absolutely selfless public servant. Look at the all the waste and fraud under Ehrlich. O'Malley is continuing to do God's work as he brings historic progress to Maryland.

Posted by: rb | May 16, 2007 10:58 PM | Report abuse

"O'Malley said that two of Ehrlich's staff members -- his director of communications, Paul E. Schurick, and press secretary, Greg Massoni -- had been issued state-owned, unmarked police cars during their tenure, a practice that would not continue."

O'Malley has shone the sunlight on the tremendous waste, fraud, and greed of the Ehrlich administration. Finally. Great job, O'Malley. Keep it up.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 17, 2007 10:02 AM | Report abuse

nice start. Only $1,499,999,964.00 left to go. Let's see.... We can sell the government china and just eat off of paper plates. That's another $12,000. That gets us to $48,000 of $1.5 BILLION. But wait, we now have to send police officers off the safe streets of Baltimore and into corner tavers to make sure no smokers are lighting up outside their designated areas, so that puts us back in the hole another few million.... hhhhmmmmmm, this governing stuff is hard. Maybe if we give up the coffee at cabinet meetings. That would save $25 per meeting times twelve meetings a year.... ok, now we're getting somewhere.

Posted by: nice work | May 17, 2007 10:04 AM | Report abuse

the point is that O'Malley is leading by example, which is what Ehrlich failed to do. Ehrlich and his buddies set a horrific example, as O'Mally said, by driving around in 12 limos at taxpayer expense, which they didn't need.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 17, 2007 11:25 AM | Report abuse

No. Ehrlich actually balanced the budget. O'Malley is finding gimmicks that don't do the first thing towards making a difference in how the state operates.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 17, 2007 4:03 PM | Report abuse

No, Ehrlich raided the transportation fund year after year, raised every fee and toll known to mankind, and raised tuition at the Univ. of Maryland at rates that the University's statistics professors were having a hard time calculating, and called it balancing the budget.

Mr. Ehrlich shouldn't you be making rain at your cushy new law firm, rather than posting on blogs.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 17, 2007 4:44 PM | Report abuse

And O'Malley is holding a yard sale which gets us nothing but gets him in the papers. I know which I prefer. The person who actually solves the problem....

Posted by: Anonymous | May 17, 2007 5:20 PM | Report abuse

I can't wait to get my hands on a 5 year old LTD that Greg Massoni had...

Two words: Babe Mobile.

Posted by: Sign me up | May 18, 2007 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Massoni and Schurick, one word .... gross!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 20, 2007 9:24 AM | Report abuse

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