Maryland Gov.-elect Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. named two nominees for Cabinet positions yesterday, tapping outgoing Prince George's council member Audrey E. Scott to serve as secretary of planning, and Boyd K. Rutherford, a federal administrator, as secretary of the Department of General Services.
Ehrlich aides said the selection of a woman, Scott, and a black man, Rutherford, demonstrated Ehrlich's inclusive approach. "He made a pledge to Maryland that his Cabinet would reflect the diversity of the state," said spokeswoman Shareese N. DeLeaver.
She also stressed that the two Republicans "were the most qualified persons who were interested in each position. . . . They're both highly seasoned professionals."
With the appointments, Ehrlich has filled four of 22 Cabinet positions. He is expected to make more appointments this week.
Sources said Del. Robert L. Flanagan (R-Howard) has told associates that he is being vetted to run the Maryland Department of Transportation, a $3 billion agency with nearly 10,000 employees. Flanagan was an informal adviser to the Ehrlich campaign and has helped the transition team craft Ehrlich's first budget.
Ehrlich's campaign manager, Chip DiPaula, is said to be the frontrunner for the Department of Budget and Management. DiPaula worked for the Republican National Committee and helped organize the 2000 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia.
DiPaula, Flanagan and other transition officials declined yesterday to comment on those positions. But Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Prince George's), whose chamber must confirm Cabinet nominations, expressed concern about DiPaula and Flanagan, saying their appointments would amount to a sop to "Ehrlich's conservative right-wing base."
"A lot of people are very opposed to Flanagan," Miller said, calling the veteran lawmaker "divisive, mean-spirited and also not qualified."
Miller would not say whether he would fight the nominations. "We'll meet in caucus and hear from the people from Howard County and hear from the people in the House who know him and work with him, and then there will be a hearing," he said.
Miller expressed no reservations about Scott or Rutherford.
Scott, 67, is a former schoolteacher who was the sole Republican on the Prince George's County Council and the first Republican elected to it in 28 years. Before that, she served as mayor of Bowie. She built her long career in Prince George's politics by appealing to voters across party and racial lines.
Term limits prevented her from seeking a third round on the council, and she lost handily to Jack B. Johnson in a bid to become county executive in November.
If Scott is confirmed by the state Senate, she will replace Roy W. Kienitz, an appointee of Gov. Parris N. Glendening (D) who was a key proponent of "smart growth" policies, which seek to encourage urban development and discourage suburban sprawl.
Many environmentalists have questioned Ehrlich's commitment to smart growth, citing among other positions his support of a proposed highway project that would connect Interstates 95 and 270 to help relieve growing traffic congestion in Montgomery County.
Scott did not return calls for comment yesterday.
Rutherford, 45, a resident of Howard County and a lawyer who in past jobs has focused on minority business development, was appointed associate administrator of the U.S. General Services Administration's Office of Small Business Utilization in 2001.
Ehrlich had already made public two other Cabinet nominations: Baltimore Police Commissioner Edward T. Norris to head the Maryland State Police and R. Karl Aumann for secretary of state.