Saturday, February 10, 2007

Gansler's Belligerent Style Bad for State

In his first few weeks in office, Gov. Martin O'Malley has exhibited a cautious approach that one commenter characterized as about as "daring as rice pudding with raisins on the side."

While The League has called for bold steps to move the state forward with creative and effective public policy, we also realize that such actions can sometimes be reckless, especially when the boldness results in public policy that is neither creative nor effective. Democratic Attorney General Doug Gansler is exhibiting the kind of roughshod governing that Marylanders should worry about.

The impetus for this post is a Sun article reporting that Gansler "ousted the state's independent monitor of juvenile detention programs and replaced her with a politically connected lawyer from his home county of Montgomery." The current monitor, who serves as a watchdog over the state's juvenile offender programs, was demoted after her appointment just last month by the state's long-serving attorney general, and Gansler's predecessor, Joe Curran. She has been replaced by Marlana R. Valdez, who ran a campaign for close Gansler ally Sen. Jamin Raskin.

All appearances are that Gansler forced out a respected, qualified appointee to make room for a political payback. To make matters worse, the monitor must be a fiercely independent actor with enough room to sharply criticize the state for its failures with juveniles. No matter what he says, Gansler compromised this independence at the expense of Maryland's kids.

The move comes on the heels of a series of unnecessarily aggressive actions in his first month in office. Gansler is forging ahead with plans to move 17 employees from a Baltimore office to the DC suburbs despite a legislative budget analysis cautioning against the move, The Baltimore Examiner reported earlier this week. Why would the attorney general move these positions from Baltimore, the state's largest city, to Montgomery or PG counties, an area already saturated with government jobs?

And Gansler's proposal to combat gangs, summarized by The Washington Post, is a disturbing policy that would prosecute people for associations instead of crimes. It has the potential to incarcerate a slew of young people who did nothing wrong besides picking a bad crowd.

Gansler is getting off to a rough start. The former lacrosse player should take a cue from his party's state leader and think things through before making such rash decisions.

from The League: Reassembled



Blogger PoliticalHack said...

The jobs are being moved for two reasons. First, its a relic of the past that all the AG office be located in Baltimore when most of the population is now in the Washington Area. Secondly, the proximity the courthouse in Greenbelt.

The political establishment always has problems with Gansler, but he did a very good job in Montgomery County and will be a good AG. Making waves is not necessarily a bad thing.

2/12/2007 09:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gansler is little more than a grandstand artist who will do little more than mug for the camera for the next few years. Perhaps the Court of Appeals will put him in his place... Again.

Of course, the voters put him in office. Let them reap what they sow.

2/14/2007 10:42:00 PM  

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