Former Maryland governor Parris N. Glendening will pursue his work on "smart growth" policies with a stint as president of a new organization dedicated to promoting those ideas in cities and states across the nation.
The Smart Growth Leadership Institute, an offshoot of the nonprofit advocacy group Smart Growth America, will be based in downtown Washington and employ two people: Glendening (D), who left office last month after eight years as governor, and his former planning chief, Harriet Tregoning, said Smart Growth America Executive Director Don Chen.
The institute will provide training and consulting services to state and local officials who want to limit suburban sprawl, preserve open space or promote mass transit, Chen said.
"We've always believed that smart growth has been most effective, and we've seen the most progress, in instances where you have a public official really leading the charge," Chen said. "We thought it would be important to have . . . a set of peers [whom] public officials can turn to if they want help on these issues. We think that the governor, given all of his government experience, can really deliver that."
Glendening, 60, has an unlisted phone number and could not be reached yesterday. He is to hold a news conference in the District this morning to announce his plans. Tregoning did not return calls.
In the past, Glendening has told reporters that he was working to line up two jobs in the smart growth field. Chen said Glendening's role at the institute would allow him to also pursue other projects.
Chen said the institute's budget remains to be determined. As president, Glendening has primary responsibility for raising the funds to lease an office and cover other expenses, including his and Tregoning's salaries. Chen said that Glendening will be taking home more than the $120,000 he earned as governor, but he declined to say precisely how much more.
"He will be making in the ballpark of what other people like him make in D.C.," Chen said. "People who have been high-level public officials, even if they're now working at nonprofits, they're making a decent living."
Glendening has already started raising money and is seeking support from several local developers, Chen said. But Chen said he did not know how much money Glendening has raised or who the institute's primary donors will be.
"I know the governor is going to be calling a lot of people," Chen said. "I'm sure it will be a combination of people who have contributed to his campaigns and people nationally."
Before becoming governor, Glendening spent 27 years as a political science professor at the University of Maryland. Instead of returning to teaching at College Park, Glendening has said, he would rather pursue the anti-sprawl agenda that he has championed for the past few years and that has brought him national recognition.
Glendening and Smart Growth America had been talking about a deal for several months. A small organization with six staff members and an annual budget of just over $600,000, Smart Growth America was founded two years ago as the first national advocacy organization devoted to anti-sprawl issues.
In addition to lobbying on national issues, the organization serves as a clearinghouse for information on the state and local levels. Chen said it was founded with the help of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the American Farmland Trust and the Surface Transportation Policy Project, organizations that are active in smart growth issues and were highly complimentary of Glendening's policies while he was in office.