Fry Appointed to Lead Md. Slots Commission
Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) today tapped Donald C. Fry, a former state legislator who heads the Baltimore area's largest business association, as chairman of a powerful new commission that will select the operators of Maryland's slot-machine sites.
The appointment was the first of seven expected in coming days from O'Malley and legislative leaders to a commission that will weigh proposals due to the state on Feb. 1 -- part of an aggressive timetable to open the five slots sites authorized by Maryland voters last month.
Aides to O'Malley, House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) have acknowledged difficutly in luring a diverse group of people, free of financial conflicts, to serve on a commission that will make decisions with far-reaching consequences for winning and losing bidders.
Fry, a Harford County resident, said, "It is critical that this process be conducted fairly and with the utmost integrity for the benefit of the citizens of the state of Maryland ..... Obviously this has been an issue of significant controversy over a number of years."
Fry, 53, has served as president since 2002 of the Greater Baltimore Committee, a group that has supported slots in the past and describes itself as "the central Maryland region's most prominent organization of business and civic leaders."
During much of the 1990s, Fry served in the Maryland General Assembly, first in the House of Delegates and then in the Senate. As a senator, his district included Cecil County, one of the five jurisdictions authorized to host a slots parlor under the constitutional amendment approved by voters last month. Slots were also authorized for sites in Allegany, Anne Arundel and Worcester counties and Baltimore.
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