Even some of Maryland Gov. William Donald Schaefer's critics regard him as successful after his first year in office.

At Schaefer's behest, the General Assembly increased the gasoline tax, changed the state's workers compensation and medical malpractice laws, reorganized state government and approved a project that Schaefer for years has pursued: a new stadium complex for downtown Baltimore.

Schaefer last year had "maybe the greatest session of any governor," said Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr.

His friends before the session remained his friends afterward. Schaefer is unabashedly probusiness, and groups such as the Maryland Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Baltimore Committee have little to complain about. "There's not much question about where Schaefer stands on business issues," says the chamber's senior vice president, Charles Krautler.

But Schaefer also scored points with longtime critics. Social advocacy groups, still wary of Schaefer's reputation for favoring bricks and mortar over social programs, are nonetheless pleased that as governor he has pushed through education aid for public schools and has proposed new and expanded social services such as mental health programs and day care.

Environmental groups, which also opposed Schaefer, say they are generally encouraged by the Chesapeake Bay agreement signed by Schaefer and other governors whose states border the bay, even if they quibble over some of the specifics.

"As governor, he obviously needed to do his homework on some of these issues, and I think he has," says Scott Burns, a lawyer with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

Local government officials are among the most pleased with Schaefer. "He is the governor who most goes out of his way to work with local governments and work on a personal level," says Prince George's County Executive Parris Glendening, who until recently headed the Maryland Association of Counties. "Clearly he feels he is one of us."