It's not like anyone was expecting state Comptroller William Donald Schaefer to shower bouquets of roses upon his outgoing political enemy at their first meeting since the Nov. 5 election.
But the former governor seemed to take particular glee in administering a drubbing to Gov. Parris N. Glendening at yesterday's Board of Public Works meeting, accusing his fellow Democrat of helping to sink Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend's bid for the governor's mansion by not coming clean on a looming $1.3 million, two-year shortfall.
"I want to commend you," Schaefer told Glendening at a public works meeting packed with representatives of Gov.-elect Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R). "You have a legacy. You left $480 million due for this year, $1 billion, $700 million for next year. You double-crossed your lieutenant governor. But outside that, you're all right."
Schaefer ripped Glendening for waiting until yesterday to detail ways to balance the budget, even while Ehrlich used the looming deficit against Townsend in the campaign. "Waiting until after the election was one of the dirtiest tricks I've ever known in politics," Schaefer said.
Then, turning to Ehrlich representatives at the meeting, Schaefer told them their boss had made a mistake by calling Glendening "a class act" after the governor promised to help resolve the state's budget problems before leaving office.
Glendening, as usual, did not respond to Schaefer. A spokesman for the governor declined to comment.
There's been no love lost between the two, but Schaefer seemed to relish welcoming the new Republican administration and his allies in it. Schaefer interrupted the meeting to greet his former chief of staff, Paul Schurick, who is now a spokesman for Ehrlich.
"He was very gracious," Schurick said. "It was very kind for him to recognize me and several other people from [Ehrlich's] world at the meeting, and to talk about how much he looked forward to the governor-elect taking office in January."
With three more public works meetings scheduled before Glendening leaves office, some predict more fireworks.
"It's going to get increasingly worse because there's lots of things the governor will want to do before he leaves office," one public official said. "But not if [Schaefer] has his way."