Annapolis, MD – Larry Hogan is up to his old tricks, this time placing a petty personal vendetta ahead of the health and safety of the Chesapeake Bay. Hogan fired Billy Rice and Rachel Dean, two veteran watermen who served on the Tidal Fisheries Advisory Commission, as political payback after Rice and Dean criticized Hogan’s arbitrary decision to fire Brenda Davis, Maryland’s veteran crab program manager last year.
The commission plays a vital role in Maryland’s effort to restore and preserve the Chesapeake Bay, advising the Maryland Department of Natural Resources on commercial fishing and boating policies.
“Governor Hogan is putting his petty personal vendetta and his bruised ego above the health and safety of the Chesapeake Bay,” said Maryland Democratic Party Chair Kathleen Matthews. “Governor Hogan is trying to rewrite history in an election year, but it is clear that he is the same petty political hack today that he was when he was hunting down and firing Democrats from state government jobs for Republican Governor Bob Ehrlich.”
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.”