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Once Again, Franchot vs. Lawmakers

The feud between Comptroller Peter Franchot and some lawmakers escalated this morning when a state senator asked the Ethics Commission to investigate Franchot's public release of information on 4,600 state workers with salaries above $100,000.

Sen. James E. DeGrange, Sr. (D-Anne Arundel) held a press conference to denounce the release of the payroll data as "unethical and outright wrong." Even though the information is public, DeGrange said Franchot's offer of the information to reporters smacked of politics. Not partisan politics, though, since the feuding parties all are Democrats.

"He has compromised the prestige of his office," DeGrange said of the comptroller, a former colleague in the House of Delegates.

Franchot offered last week to give reporters a list of state workers making at least $100,000 after he accused Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) of prodding legislative analysts to target two of the tax collector's deputies. The Baltimore Examiner took Franchot up on the offer, and ran a story.

DeGrange serves on the Senate's Budget and Taxation committee. It has not recommended eliminating the positions, although Miller and legislative analysts have criticized their salaries, which are as high as those of some members of the governor's cabinet.

Franchot spokesman Joseph Shapiro said in a statement that DeGrange "misunderstands state law and the importance of transparency in government" because the records of state salaries are public information.

Miller, in a statement, called the comptroller's decision to publicize salary information "troubling" and called on him to apologize.

By Lisa Rein  |  February 28, 2008; 2:55 PM ET
Categories:  Lisa Rein  
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De facto Governor Franchot makes Doug Gansler look press shy when it comes to making politics out of every opportunity. There are positions in government that draw from heavily compensated areas of the private sector and the salaries have to be at least remotely competitive. I am not shocked or offended by the fact that 4600 employees make over $100K a year. I am offended by Franchot's grandstanding. His time would be better served focusing on the constitutional duties of his office than trying to turn his office into a parallel governorship.

Instead of focusing on real issues of waste and excess taxation, Franchot focuses on this red herring. What a joke.

Posted by: Victor | February 28, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

If the information is public why do I, or a newspaper, have to reply on Franchot's grandstanding to get it?

Posted by: MD Citizen | February 28, 2008 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Can we get Willie Don back? This clown is actually worse!

Posted by: Wow | February 28, 2008 7:00 PM | Report abuse

When we have gotten increases in sales, income, car and corporate taxes, I think taxpayers are shocked to find that so many, 4600, state employees make over $100,000. That is a lot of campaign workers and contributors. Good work Franchot. Isn't DeGrange one of those guys who joined Garagiola to lead the fight for the new 6% computer tax which will dumb down Maryland in the long run by causing an exodus of computer geeks?

Posted by: Robin Ficker Broker Robin Realty | February 28, 2008 8:04 PM | Report abuse

I commend Comptroller Franchot for releasing state employee salary information. While he's at it, how about if he releases all state financial data that can legally be released? Put it right out here on the internet for everyone to see. The more eyes that you put on government, the more efficiently it runs and the fewer opportunties for mischief.

Posted by: Taxpayer | February 28, 2008 8:35 PM | Report abuse

franchot is corrrect in releasing public data. mike miller is a paraniod dictator who will single handedly drive maryland to the technology dark ages. we geeks will vote with our feet. there is no reason to keep living in a state run by a dictator!

Posted by: computer geek | February 28, 2008 11:59 PM | Report abuse

Public information should be available and sometimes its publication is needed if it will jolt these premadonnas into doing work. I have no problem with someone getting well compensated. If I had to leave my accounting job in the private sector for the gvt position I expect a competative remuneration otherwise my experience and efficiency at my job will go to the highest bidder. thats a free market and free society right there.

Posted by: Joel | February 29, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Good debate y'all, please continue. My position, if Mickey Miller is for it, I'm agin it. He is sleazebag numero uno! Big Time!

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