Gov. Harry Hughes pulled political plums out of his "green bag" today, and their delivery to the General Assembly evoked few complaints. The exception, as has been usual in recent days, came from the Prince George's senate delegation.
On the senate floor, where legislators once hooted the delivery of the patronage list because of Hughes' refusal to rubber-stamp the senate recommendations as his predecessors had done, the only stir during today's ceremony came when Senate President Melvin A. Steinberg and appointments secretary Constance R. Beims exchanged kisses as she delivered the package.
"I think it's appropriate that the president was kissed," said Sen. B.W. Mike Donovan (D-Prince George's). "After all, Judas kissed Christ before he betrayed him."
Donovan is still smarting from Hughes' earlier selection of Del. Lorraine M. Sheehan (D-Prince George's) as secretary of state. Hughes picked Sheehan, who lives in Donovan's district, over six persons, including Donovan, suggested by the Prince George's senators.
The green bag appointments--so called because the list is carried from the governor's office to the legislative chambers in a green bag--offered few surprises. But spicing the list was the naming of Torrey C. Brown, a recently defeated delegate, as the new secretary of the Department of Natural Resources. Brown had been chairman of the House Environmental Matters Committee until this year. The appointment of Brown, an often controversial chairman, caused a few murmurs, but little more.
The Prince George's senators jumped on Hughes' naming of L. Douglas Jefferson to the workemen's compensation board. Jefferson is a Baltimore lawyer who lives in Prince George's.
Delegation chairman Frank J. Komenda learned about Jefferson's selection when he was summoned to Hughes' office Thursday to be told that a reappointment to the board of trustees of the county's community college, requested by the senators, was going to be turned down.
Then Hughes told Komenda of Jefferson's appointment.
"I had the impression that he was slightly embarrassed that he was making an appointment from Prince George's County and the senators didn't know about it," Komenda said. "He wanted to point out to me that it was an oversight."
Komenda said he believes that when Hughes decided upon the appointment, Hughes thought that Jefferson lived in Baltimore, but that after learning Jefferson was from Prince George's the governor wanted to tell Komenda, so the senators would not think he was trying to go behind their backs.
"How can this guy Jefferson be qualified to be a workman's compensation commissioner, doing the work of the people, if he's had his nose in a law book for 20 years?" asked Sen. Thomas V. (Mike) Miller. "The man's never once worked a poll in Prince George's County, I'm sure he has no feel for the people. As far as I'm concerned, he doesn't even live in Prince George's County."
But that is the point, Hughes said: "I don't even know where he lives. I don't make these appointments based on geography, I make them based on qualifications. I wanted a black on the workman's compensation commission and this man was extremely qualified."