Their election campaign ended more than two weeks ago, but Prince George's County Executive-elect Lawrence J. Hogan says lame-duck County Executive Winfield Kelly Jr. is still out to get him.
After two weeks of surveying the government he will take over next month. Hogan has returned to report "a landscape full of land mines ahead of me." and, he suspects "tripwires" laid for him by Kelly and his loyal staff.
Kelly's and his aides, in turn, still bitter over their election defeat, are assailing Hogan's charges and predicting doom for his administration. It is not, both sides say, the ideal transition.
Hogan says he has received reports that Kelly and his department heads have been "hiring a number of people since election day - hiring and promoting them, because they won't be responsible for them."
"I don't understand it." Hogan said. "I don't know whether they are playing games with me or laying lines or what. If they've hired a whole bunch of people since Nov. 4, then I am going to have to deal with that when I get into office - and they'll blame me for what happens."
Pressed for details, Hogan referred questions to the head of his transition team. Audrey Scott, who, in turn, said that "supporters of Larry's" in county departments had reported "many transfers and promotions, like from CETA (Federally funded) jobs to merit-system positions. Like in the executive's office."
Hogan staff workers were unable to name any specific cases of promotions or job transfers since election day, and Kelly's supporters flatly deny the charge. But the mood the Hogan team senses in Kelly's departing administration is accurate.
"I'm anxious to get out of here," Kelly budget aide Sam Wynkoop said yesterday, "from the land of the dead. The Huns are coming. They are going to take our seats."
"I can guarantee Hogan that no one has been hired in the executive's office since the election," Wynkoop said. "This is one of his typical ploys."
"Kelly is a professional, and he's not bitter," said aide John Lally yesterday. "But the way he sees it, he's [WORD ILLEGIBLE] to just sit back and watch Hogan come around to doing all of the things he attacked during the campaign. It's like watching an equation work out - except we're the only ones who can see it."
After any election, both sides agree, the incoming and outgoing leaders of government should bury campaign hatchets, sit down together, and smooth the flow of power. So far, however, Hogan and Kelly have spoken but three words to each other. Hogan says Kelly has not contacted him. Says Lally, "Hogan hasn't called us."
"I've only seen Winnie once, at the Metro opening," Hogan said. "He shook my hand and said, 'Hi, Mr. Executive.' But that's been it. It's all kind of disappointing."
The continuing bitterness between the Hogan and Kelly camps has complicated what is already a difficult transition. With little previous experience in county government, Hogan has, as he says "mountains of material to absorb," difficult appointments to make, and several problems he must make decisions on almost immediately.
During the last two weeks, Hogan's 13-member transition team has compiled two huge binders of material explaining the workings, plans, and budgets of the various county departments and agencies. "It's very sterile stuff," said former council candidate John Burcham, a member of the team. "Just basic reference documents."
Once Hogan has absorbed those papers, his staff will give him a 120-day calender listing the issues he must cope with immediately - including board and commission appointments and Metro subsidies the county must pay.
And there is more. "Like the people who have called up about street signs and guardrails," Audrey Scott said. "Or the lady who wanted to talk to him about losing her dentures."