Annapolis, MD – “Hatchet Man” Hogan has brought back loyalty tests for state employees, newly released emails show. A bombshell report from Capital News Service shows that Larry Hogan is requiring that all candidates for top civil servant positions go through his appointments office for approval. This is a violation of laws implemented by the state legislature in response to a mass purge of state employees Hogan conducted as one-term Republican Governor Bob Ehrlich’s appointments secretary. Hogan’s own counsel says the practice is “inconsistent with State law.”
Reports of Hogan’s illegal loyalty test come on the heels of Hogan placing his petty personal vendettas ahead of the health and safety of the Chesapeake Bay. Hogan recently fired Billy Rice and Rachel Dean, two veteran watermen serving on the Tidal Fisheries Advisory Commission, as political payback after Rice and Dean questioned Hogan’s arbitrary firing of Brenda Davis last year. At the time, Davis oversaw Maryland crab management program at the Department of Natural Resources.
“Governor Hogan’s own lawyers have told him that his loyalty tests for state employees are illegal, yet he continues the practice,” said Maryland Democratic Party Chair Kathleen Matthews. “Marylanders deserve a Governor they can trust, not a political hack who hunts down and fires talented public servants who happen to be Democrats from state government jobs.”
Hogan’s reputation as a “hatchet man” derives from his tenure as Ehrlich’s appointments secretary, when Hogan’s first task was to send letters to thirty high-level state appointed officials, notifying them that they would be replaced.
Following complaints from state employees, in February 2005, lawmakers began investigating if Hogan’s mass terminations were solely based on political affiliation. According to state worker testimonies, “… the Ehrlich administration systematically got rid of state employees believed to be politically or personally disloyal to the governor.” The Baltimore Sun noted that Hogan oversaw, approved and publicly defended all of these firings and hirings.
By late 2005, a special probe formed to investigate the Ehrlich administration firings found that Hogan’s previous statements were in conflict with employment records data.
A committee report later concluded that political motivations were largely behind state employee terminations:
“… the committee found that separations and terminations of at-will employees under the current Administration occurred that were arbitrary or inconsistent with improving government or, in other cases, illegal because the separations were based on political considerations in violation of employees First Amendment constitutional rights and State law.”