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Miller: Grasmick Won't Serve Another Term

Hours before the start of the 2008 session of the Maryland General Assembly, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. predicted that the embattled state schools superintendent would not survive to serve another term.

"Nancy Grasmick is not going to be the superintendent," Miller (D-Calvert) said during a radio interview taped for broadcast later today on WYPR (88.1 FM). "She's a very nice person. She's had a great run. She should step aside."

Lawmakers are considering changing the law on how superintendents are appointed. Grasmick last month was given a new four-year term, starting in July, by a State Board of Education on which a majority of members were appointed by former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R).

Grasmick sparred with Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) during his tenure as mayor of Baltimore over the city schools. O'Malley has made no secret of his desire to see Grasmick replaced.

Miller said O'Malley deserves to have his own appointees to the school board pick the superintendent, who sits in his Cabinet meetings.

"It just drives the governor crazy," Miller said. "He shouldn't have to govern that way."

Miller was also joined on the program by House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) and host Marc Steiner.

In an interview with Steiner the following hour, O'Malley affirmed his interest in replacing Grasmick "as soon as possible" after he gains a majority of appointees on the state board in July. He acknowled that he and lawmakers will have to change the appointments law.

"Yes, we will and we intend to do that," O'Malley said, referring to Grasmick as "the poster child of No Child Left Behind" and "a pawn" of the Maryland Republican Party.

Grasmick said yesterday that Democratic efforts to oust her were driven by politics.

By Anne Bartlett  |  January 9, 2008; 9:23 AM ET
Categories:  John Wagner  
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I know Martin is very upset that he didn't get his way on the school superintendent issue. Don't be upset Martin! Just think about all of the times that you can take leave of running the state, and instead go prance around onstage strumming your cute little guitar while wearing that HOT, tight, black, form-fitted, muscle-shirt that drives us crazy!

You Go, Martin!

Posted by: baltimoregal | January 9, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Pure childishness on OMalley's part. He holds a grudge like a 5th grader. He should leave her position as is. It was removed from the politicians hands because of the same reason as we are faced with today. STUPID POLITICIANS getting their grubby little paws on a position that should be up to others.

Posted by: AnotherWatcher | January 9, 2008 10:50 AM | Report abuse

This is embarrassing. O'Malley needs to leave this whole thing behind him and act dignified. He lost this round, there are other fights ahead. Grow up.

Posted by: InMoCo | January 9, 2008 10:54 AM | Report abuse

So what O'Malley's people are saying is that he can't work with members of the Republican party? And this guy has his sights set on a national office?

Posted by: Liz | January 9, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

I always find it very humorous when the party that created the rules now has to live under them. Who established this rule in the first place? My guess is that it was Mike Miller or his predecessor and now that a Repulican administration did the exact same thing that the Democrats have historically done, its wrong? What about all those democrate state bureaucrats that stonewalled Erlich at every turn who he tried to replace - there was a huge outcry from Mr Miller et al that this was "politicizing" the government. Imagine that. The shoe is on the other foot. Hope you wear it well Mr Miller.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 9, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

I remember how up in arms the MD Democratic party was with the "Grim Reaper" episode by insisting that Ehrlich was engaging in politcally motivated firings. But now we have O'Malley PUBLICLY DECLARING WAR on Grasmick and since it's not in his power to cut her loose at this moment, he'll change the state consitution to have a panel of his lapdogs do it at a later date-all at taxpayer's expense. All of this, of course, is perfectly acceptable in unchecked present day Annapolis. Aren't we lucky?

Posted by: The Double Standard | January 9, 2008 1:20 PM | Report abuse

What's next for O'Malley...Jumping up and down in a temper tantrum just because he could not get his own way??? Grow Up

Posted by: stuck-in-Md | January 9, 2008 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Typical Republican responses --blather. How about if everyone takes the long view about good governance for the state. This is much less about ousting hundreds of state employees as Bobby Hairspray did. Part of the senior, cabinet leadership includes the superintendent. Shouldn't that person be hired/renominated by the current governor's board members--now and in the future, regardless of who is governor Democrat or Republican? It's time for YOU to grow up, sore losers.

Posted by: jmsbh | January 9, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

I'm a Democrat (and pretty liberal) and I support O'Malley, but this whole episode is really shameful. He doesn't like Grasmick, we get it. Bobby Hairspray's lame duck members on the council pulled a fast one on O'Malley. Everyone played by the rules of the game and whether he likes it or not, he has to live by the council's decision. To try to do an end run around this whole process appears to be more about winning a personal grudge than serving the publics interest. I think he should call it a day and stop making Democrats looks bad.

Posted by: InMoCo | January 9, 2008 3:59 PM | Report abuse

The process was set up that way to insulate the superintendent from politics. Grasmick has enjoyed a long tenure over several governors. Today it is reported that Maryland has the third best public school system in the country. If O'Malley picks his superintendent's like his police commissioner's, the kids are better off with the way the system is currently set up.

Posted by: geevill | January 9, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Lost in all of this nonsense is the fact that (Democrat) Grasmick was appointed Superintendent by the Board of Education in 1991... after being appointed Special Secretary for Children, Youth, and Families in 1989 by... William Donald Schaeffer.

This isn't a Republicant appointee, but a Democatic one that happened to have ruffled the feathers of the new governor when he was mayor of Baltimore because... Baltimore's schools were failing.

Nothing but an overblown turf war.

Posted by: just a thought | January 9, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

geevill, you're exactly right. According to the, Maryland (and Virginia) schools both rank in the top 5 in the nation. Yet Miller says she should step down? Isn't that like the Patriots firing Bill Bilichik after completing a perfect season? Then we have O'Malley who wants the superintendent replaced "as soon as possible" because she's a "pawn" in the MD GOP. I wonder if he said this before he went to New Hampshire to stump for the Clintons or after? O'Malley's priorities aren't with the school system. They're with grinding the political axe. You couldn't have a more polarizing figure as the Governor of Maryland so get over it O'Malley defenders. If you can't stand criticism, it's going to be a long 3 more years.

Posted by: Fleeced | January 9, 2008 6:13 PM | Report abuse

I have a better question. Is it too much for the post writers to put those two facts together in one story? Why can't they write that O'Malley wants to fire the school superintendent despite Maryland ranking in the top five in the country for public schools?

Whether it is a political stunt or an ax to grind is immaterial. The point is Maryland voters elected someone who is not interested in the welfare of this state and newspaper articles about his lack of sound judgment should be reported as such.

Posted by: Annapolis Native | January 9, 2008 8:43 PM | Report abuse

Sorry jmsbh, I'm a registered independent who almost always votes for Dems. However, I reserve the right to call it like I see it for either party, and this just smacks of O'Malley's inability to deal with people who don't agree with him.

Posted by: Liz | January 9, 2008 9:26 PM | Report abuse

sorry, Grasmick's removal is long overdue. She was put in by Schaefer and protected by the General Assembly partly because of her husband's big donations. She hasn't done squat for the school systems of this state and her assisting Ehrlich in politicizing the city school system was the last straw. As a city voter and graduate (1970s) of the city school system, I insist that the General Assembly take the necessary steps to remove her.

Posted by: sj | January 9, 2008 11:18 PM | Report abuse

sj, I'm sorry that you had a bad experience in the 1970s, but Grasmick wasn't in office then, and the state recently ranked in the top 5 for education.

Can you substantiate your position that her removal is "long overdue"?

Posted by: Liz | January 10, 2008 9:14 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure being appointed by WDR makes Grasmick a "democratic" appointee...come to think of it, wasn't her husband a Schafer crony and fundraiser?

Posted by: tsw457 | January 11, 2008 4:39 PM | Report abuse

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