Acting Maryland Gov. Blair Lee III appointed today another member of Maryland Gov. Marvin Mandel's personal staff to a high paying state job, continuing the tradition of finding good jobs for those Lee called "faithful employees" as the Mandel administration enters its final phase.
"It's not only customary," Lee said, "it's humane, If they (the appointments) don't violate common sense and decency. I don't see anything wrong with it."
In the latest move, Michael Silver, a Mandel patronage official, was named administrator of Maryland's Property Tax Assessment Appeals Board at a $37,000 annual salary.
Earlier, Lee appointed Mandel's chief legislative adviser, Alan Wilner, to the second highest court in the state, the Court ofSpecial Appeals.
Three other Mandel friends. Edgar P. Silver (no relation to Michael Silver), Paul E. Alpert, and Alan Spector, have received judgeships in the Baltimore area through Lee and Mandel in recent months.
While Mandel has always appointed political supporters and friends to jobs, the pattern began to intensify last year, as he faced the first of two political corruption trials that could abrubtly end his career before the scheduled January, 1979, expiration date for Mandel's term. Lee, a candidate for governor who took over temporarily for Mandel when the governor became ill in the Spring, is continuing the practice.
Mandel appointed one of his oldest friends, Solomon Liss of Baltimore, to the Court of Special Appeals. Another friend and loyalist, Thomas J. Hatem, was made chairman of the Public Service Commission which regulates utilities. Commission which regulates utilities. Percy Chaimson, chairman of the governor's 1974 re-election committee, was appointed to the state Board of Regents, which runs the University of Maryland.
Lee has also promoted a member of his own staff. He named his assistant, Frank O. Heintz, a former state delegate, to the $36,000-a-year job of executive director of the state's Employment Security Administration.
Lee reacted angrily yesterday at a press conference to questions about the appointments but acknowledged in a later interview that to some extent he was fulfilling political obligations and helping "faithful employees who serve in the executive office."
Lee has also made several appointments - State Sen. John P. Corderman (D-Washington County) to a judgeship and Lee supporter Victor Cushwa to Corderman's vacated Senate seat - which were widely interpreted as useful to Lee's gubernatorial campaign.
Lee said that the vast majority of his appointments involve people whom "I don't know and they don't know me. Mainly, I'm just looking for people who can do the work."
But he added: "Some of them obviously have a touch of political expediency."
Lee said he first informed Mandel of his decision to appoint Silver Wednesday night. Mandel "seemed entirely favorable to it," Lee added, while stressing that the appointment was his own and not one of the governor's commitments to his aides.
The hard-talking, cigar-chomping Silver, who earned $30,000 a year as one of Mandel's legislative lobbyists and political operatives, let it be known he was interested in the admininstrator's job about a week ago, Lee said.
"Somebody came in and said Milchael was bursting for . . . the job, but was too shy to ask for it," Lee said, "I asked him if it was true and he said yes."
Silver, who joined Mandel's law in 1969 shortly after leaving law school, said he had not obtained any commitments from the governor. "How about if I told you I never spoke to him about the job," he said.
Silver's appointment - which must be approved by the state Senate - express in July, 1982, providing him with job security long after his political mentor, Mandel, leaves office. His job involves administrative tasks for local boards that hear citizen appeals of property tax assessments.
"I think it's perfectly obvious that the people who were appointed fall into the classification of cronies or friends of them (Lee and Mandel)," observed Republican State Sen. John J. Bishop (Baltimore County). "I have problems in believing that Blair has not discussed his appointments with Marvin," added Bishop, the Senate's minority whip.
While continuing the tradition of placing "faithful employees" in lasting state government jobs, Lee has also begun tapping traditional sources of campaign money for the upcoming gubernatorial race.
According to a campaign fund report filed with the State Elections Board, Lee has collected $100,700, including large contributions from real estate developers, bankers, organized labor and special interest lobbyists.
The money was raised at a Montgomery County fund-raising affair in May that was hosted by Milton E. Kettler, a major developer. Kettler andhis brother, Clarence E. Kettler, whose firm Kettler Brothers, Inc., developed Montgomery Village, each contributed $1,000, the maximum allowed under state law.
Other developers and builders who contributed to the Lee campaign were Jack Alfandre, of Rockville, $1,000; A. Alfred Taubman, of Southfield, Mich.; $1,000; Robert H. Smith, of Washington, $500; Sam Eig, of Gaithersburg, $1,000; Stanley A. Hoffberger, of Bethesda, $1,000, and Homer Gudelsky, of Silver Spring, $1,000.
The Baltimore law firm that includes James A. Doyle, the most active special interest lawyer in Annapolis, contributed $1,000. L. Malcolm Rodman, a lobbyist for the state's nursing homes, gave $200 and Stewart Bainum. Jr., of Manor Care, Inc., a large nursing home chain, pitched in $1,000.
Contributions from organized labor included $1,000 from Louis B. Knecht, who double as the secretary-treasurer of International Communications Workers of America and the chairman of the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee, and $600 from Local Union Education Committee NO. 26 of the L. B. F. W.