ANNAPOLIS, JUNE 24 -- Maryland Gov. William Donald Schaefer is bringing another trusted aide from his days as mayor of Baltimore to the state payroll, but the governor said today that there would be a limit on how much former city finance director Charles Benton would be paid.
Schaefer said that Benton, who has worked for the governor as a volunteer since February, would become a part-time employe of the state, receiving an annual maximum salary of $20,000.
The governor said he rejected a proposed contract for Benton that did not limit how much money he would make from the state. Schaefer said Benton's contract is contingent on approval by the Board of Public Works, which is composed of Schaefer, Treasurer Lucille Maurer and Comptroller Louis L. Goldstein.
"He will accept assignments from me," said Schaefer, adding that the decision to pay Benton did not necessarily mean an increase in Benton's already long list of responsibilities. Benton works out of an office in the state office building in Baltimore and has a desk at the State House here.
Benton's specialty in Baltimore was coming up with creative financing plans for a myriad of programs. He was one of two city trustees who administered hundreds of millions of dollars in loans and contracts and was the brains behind a sometimes unorthodox partnership between the private sector and municipal government.
Benton, 71, is most known for his work in helping the renovation of Baltimore's Inner Harbor, but he also dispensed loans to failing businesses, and helped provide financing for commercial and residential developers for projects all around the city.
Critics said he and Schaefer created a "shadow government" not accountable to the bureaucracy or City Council.
Benton had originally negotiated a contract with state Department of Licensing and Regulation Secretary William A. Fogle Jr. that provided Benton with a fee of $100 an hour and had no limit to the amount Benton could be paid.
Schaefer said that although both Fogle and Benton had signed that contract, it never went into effect. Schaefer said he let that "draft" copy sit on his desk because he wanted a salary limit inserted.
Schaefer said that Benton already had performed a number of services for him, including work on the state's savings and loan problems and analyzing the reorganization of state government. Benton also is acting as an unpaid consultant to the Maryland Stadium Authority, he said.
"He has received, incidentally, no pay at all," Schaefer said. "Zero. None."