ANNAPOLIS, JULY 17 -- When Maryland's new governor attempts to make his mark in Annapolis, he often seems to stir up a fuss. This time, the squawking is about a paint job his subordinates want to apply to public benches around state buildings here.

Plans call for the benches to be painted in black and gold -- the official state colors -- and embossed with simple white lettering that reads: "Courtesy of Governor William Donald Schaefer and the Citizens of Maryland."

Earl Seboda, Schaefer's secretary of general services, plans to paint benches at the state office complex, the state police barracks, at bus stops near the State House -- and at the state's new Hall of Records, a contemporary brick and natural wood building that stands as an understated gateway into the historic area surrounding the state capitol.

"It's gross," steamed Del. Timothy F. Maloney (D-Prince George's). "It's like putting a bumper sticker on the Constitution."

Maloney said he has fired off a letter to Seboda demanding to know the rationale for the paint job and the estimated cost.

The architect who designed the Hall of Records building is none too pleased either.

"Yellow and black?" said an anguished Bruce Rich. "I guess they have the right to do anything they want to that building . . . they can paint the whole building yellow and black if they want to. I just wish they'd be a little more sensitive about it."

Rich said he deliberately kept the exterior of the Hall of Records building on Rowe Boulevard simple so it would not distract passers-by from the vista of historic domes and spires up ahead. His design philosophy was "if it doesn't shout at you, then it succeeds." A black-and-gold paint job on the eight redwood benches out front is a lot more noise than he intended, he said.

Besides, said Rich, "Schaefer didn't put those benches there, somebody else did it. I guess you could say {former governor} Harry Hughes did it."

Rich said he too will be firing off a letter to the governor.

When he was mayor of Baltimore, Schaefer had his name painted on benches all over town, but his mark there is slowly being erased as his successor, Clarence H. (Du) Burns, gets his own paint job spread around.

Seboda said that it was his idea, not the governor's, to paint the state benches. Schaefer, he said, "did not have any objections."

The project began with 24 benches at the state office complex in Baltimore several months ago, and Seboda said his department is just now turning its palette toward Annapolis.

"It's just much more colorful," said Seboda, "and it allow citizens to know of the things government is providing for them."

Seboda said the project will not cost the state any additional money because the new paint job will be applied only when benches need paint as part of their regular maintenance.

But that's another thing that Rich said he can't figure. The benches at the Hall of Records, he said, are natural redwood. "They're really supposed to naturally weather," he said. "Leave them alone and they'd probably be okay for the next 15 years."

The chief occupant of the Hall of Records, state archives director Edward Papenfuse, said he first heard about the planned paint job last Friday. "It's very hard for me to even visualize it," said Papenfuse. But, choosing his words carefully, he added, "If the color scheme is some variation on state colors, it might work rather nicely."