Ann F. Mahoney, the controversial, outspoken member of the Throughbred Board of the Maryland Racing Commission, will not be reappointed with the expiration of her term June 30.She said last night she will not go out as a quiet lame duck.
Gov. Harry Hughes is expected to nominate Betty Shea Miller, general manager of the Merryland Farm, later this month to succeed Mahoney, the first woman racing commissioner in the commission's 58-year history.
Along with the controversy in which virtually all segments of the Maryland racing industry opposed her, Mahoney's position as a commissoner was further complicated when Acting Gov Blair Lee III, who appointed her, was defeated by Hughes in the Democrat primary last fall.
Mahoney is filling a vacancy created by last year's resignation of commissioner Carle Jackson. His five-year term would have expired June 30.
Upon returning to her Baltimore home from Florida last night, Mahoney said, "I have five months to serve and know nothing about it (the report of her being relieved). I have made no attempt to get reappointed... yes, I'm a fighter. You better believe it. I have my thoughts. I'm not a wonder woman, but I can get a lot accomplished in that length of time that will take most people four or five years
"I know what has to be done and it will be done in the best interests of Maryland racing."
Ironically, Mahoney will face her confirmation hearing Monday in Annapolis before the executive nominating committee chaired by Sen. Peggy Schweinhuat (D-Montgomery County).
A source familiar with Maryland politics said yesterday that Mahoney's opposition will not press the issue there, calling such an action "a gratituous insult... It is common knowledge and Mahoney will not stay on the commission."
Last night Mahoney said she expected strong opposition at the hearings because there will be "a lot of things at stake in the next five months."
Mahoney's critics say she has no experience for the job, which pays $3,000 annually, and that because her husband runs the state lottery there is a possible conflict of interest. Her supporters say she is disliked because she is "a gadfly" and will not serve as a rubber stamp for the racing industry, as they claim other commissioners do.
Miller apparently is backed by almost all segments of Maryland racing. The Merryland Farm in Hydes, Md., is one of the state's larger breeding and training centers.