WHILE HAILING AND FAREWELLING various state and local administrations, we note that the spirit of tacky, lame-duck patronage remains alive and well in the region -- or, at least in both Maryland and the District of Columbia (this doesn't happen to be a transition year in Virginia). Indeed, the thoughtful ways in which Walter Washington and Blair Lee III have found sinecures for their associates must be the envy of every red-blooded, relatively able-bodied police officer and fire fighter now retired on disability (and there are more than a few around). When it comes to providing a top associate with a little something to tide him over until retirement -- as well as to jack up his pension at taxpayers' expense -- the action in both Maryland and the District has been both imaginative and generous.
Mr. Washington's pet concern was the fate of Julian R. Dugas, the man who served him so loyally as city administrator and who succeeded in alienating more people in and out of City Hall than any other top aide. Since the city administrator serves at the pleasure of the mayor -- and since Marion Barry had absolutely no intention of continuing to fill this important city-managerial job with a totally political operative from the Washington administration -- Mr. Washington had to do a fast shuffle. So he reinstated Mr. Dugas as director of the Department of Licenses, Investigation and Inspections -- which, unfortunately, happens to be an important position. So even though Mr. Dugas already is eligible to retire with full benefits, he can continue to put in time and make that much more money when he retires. And that's not the end of it; Mr. Washington also reappointed Mr. Dugas to a three-year term as chairman of the city's Alcoholic Beverage Control Board -- an important part of economic development and land-use planning in the city.
Thre is probably nothing Mayor Barry can do about cancelling these appointments or preventing Mr. Dugas from remaining on the payroll and enhancing his pension entitlements. But we do think the new mayor h s every right to be as imaginative as Walter Washington in his efforts to restructure both the department and the ABC in ways that will at least reduce the power and influence in his administration of one of his predecessor's closest advisers.
Acting Gov. Lee's misplaced sense of obligation was in behalf of Frank A. DeFilippo and Dr. Neil Solomon. Mr. DeFilippo, as you may recall, was Marvin Mandel's chief of staff and news secretary before he moved to advertising and handled Mr. Lee's unsuccessful campaign for the Democratic nomination for governor. Dr. Solomon was serving as head of the state health department when he wasn't out doing other things. So what will these two be doing now, thanks to Mr. Lee's soft heart, to accumulate additional years of pension credits at public expense? They will each enjoy six-year terms as "consumer representatives" 3n the state Athletic Commission, which oversees boxing, wrestling and sparring events. We have, we confess, only the dimmest notion of just what heavy responsibilities are involved here. But, on the face of it, it seems to us the Maryland consumer of fisticuffs is less in need of a representative than the Maryland taxpayer. This sort of last-minute misuse of an out-going governor's appointment power to create pension windfalls for old pals strikes us as a clear case of hitting taxpayers below the belt.