Gov. Harry R. Hughes today virtually completed shaping the administration that will run Maryland for the next four years by appointing five more cabinet officers including, as he had promised during his campaign, one black and one woman.
The Hughes cabinet, as perhaps the clearest signal of the new governor's desire to break from the traditional style of politics in Annapolis, includes only three holdovers from the Mandel-Lee era and is dominated by career professionals with few ties to either Hughes or the state's patronage-oriented Democratic political establishment.
"I'm very proud of this cabinet," said Hughes, who had said that the appointment of cabinet officers would be the most important decision of his first year in office. "As you know, I moved deliberately on this. But I'm coming out with people who represent what my administration will stand for."
At his first press conference since taking over as the state's 57th governor Wednesday, Hughes announced that Theodore E. Thornton, the black personnel director of the City of Richmond, will head the state personnel office and Constance Lieder, a housing consultant from Baltimore, will serve as his secretary of state planning.
Hughes said today he would appoint a new secretary of economic and community development -- the last cabinet post remaining vacant -- within the next week.
Also appointed to cabinet positions today were James J. O'Donnell for transportation, Ejner J. (Jonny) Johnson for licensing and regulation and Charles R. Buck Jr. for health and mental hygiene.
The five new cabinet members stood behind the podium -- at times moving uneasily and blushing -- as Hughes praised them one by one. In the audience sat a dozen members of the black legislative caucus who had lobbied the governor to appoint minorites to top-level posts. They were not entirely satisfied with the results.
"I'm disappointed," said Del. Nathaniel Exum (D-Prince George's). "I thought we were going to get away from tokenism and have at least two (black cabinet members)."
Hughes, when asked to respond to Exum's charge, said: "We've shown we're not dealing in tokenism. I feel a very strong commitment in that area. Give me a little time." He pointed out that his inner staff includes an unprecedented number of minorities and women -- two blacks, four women and one Japanese-American.
The new cabinet officers, Hughes said, were selected from a list of more than 1,500 persons who had submitted resumes to his Baltimore transition office or had been recommended to him by some 400 organizations. "Our attempt," he said, "was to get the very best people we could for the jobs."
Thornton, the only non-Maryland resident in the cabinet, has served as Richmond's personnel director since 1972. Although Virginia's capital city has been split by a black-white political power struggle in recent months, Thornton, a native New Yorker, has generally earned praise from both sides.
One Richmond political observer said that Thornton, the city's first black department head, has shunned controversy. "He's not a firebrand," said a Richmond councilman. "He's a quiet, efficient bureaucrat."
Lieder, a private planning consultant and part-time professor of urban planning at Morgan State University, is well-known in the state's planning bureaucracy for her work on Baltimore's regional planning council. She has served on dozens of local and national planning task forces in recent years and in 1977 was elected president of the American Institute of Planners.
Buck, an expert in hospital administration, has served as director of planning and intra-institutional affairs at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore for the last two years. As director of health and mental hygiene, he will oversee the state's largest bureacracy -- more than 13,000 employes.
O'Donnell, a lawyer and professional engineer, served as a deputy to Hughes when the governor was secretary of transportation. He is a Baltimore native and lifelong bureaucrat who worked previously as director of state planning and director of public improvements.
Johnson has also had a long career in state government, serving since 1970 as commissioner of motor vehicles. In 1974, Johnson was named motor vehicle commissioner of the year. In the early 1960s, he served for four years as executive assistant to former Gov. J. Millard Tawes.
Hughes also announced today that he was retaining Fred L. Wineland, the former state senator from Prince George's County, as secretary of state, and appointing Martin Puncke, a 29-year veteran of the state police, as lottery director.