ANNAPOLIS, MD—To bring further accountability and oversight to Maryland’s quasi-governmental agencies, Governor Larry Hogan today issued an executive order that immediately establishes a State Transparency and Accountability Reform Commission. Read the executive order.
“Since taking office, our administration has pushed to restore integrity and accountability to our state government and to ensure that the best interests of Maryland’s citizens are being represented fairly and honestly,” said Governor Hogan. “We need to take a long and hard look at the way that our quasi-governmental agencies operate, and focus on making real and systemic reforms.”
Governor Hogan has namedformer Sen. Andrew A. Serafinito serve as the chairman of the commission. Serafini retired in July after 12 years in the Maryland General Assembly. He served as a member of the Maryland Senate from 2015 to 2020, and the Maryland House of Delegates from 2008 to 2015. The commission will consist of members of the governor’s cabinet or their designees, members of the Maryland Senate and House of Delegates, experts in ethics and finance, and members of the general public.
“During his time in the General Assembly, Senator Serafini was one of the most widely respected and admired members for his commitment to fairness and accountability,” said Governor Hogan. “I want to thank Senator Serafini for agreeing to serve as chairman of the commission, and we look forward to announcing additional members in the coming weeks.”
The commission will review and investigate the operations of at least 14 of Maryland’s quasi-governmental agencies and make recommendations regarding standards for oversight and accountability measures. Its recommendations may include term limits, requirements for financial and conflict-of-interest disclosures, independent audits and reports, and other standards to promote efficiency, effectiveness, and ethical conduct. Findings must be reported to the governor and General Assembly on or before December 1, 2021.
This is the latest in a series of reforms the governor has initiated since it came to light earlier this year that the Maryland Environmental Service (MES) has longstanding practices of paying large bonuses, expense reimbursements, and severance packages to top executives:
- The acting director, Charles Glass, conducted a top-to-bottom review that led to the removal of executives and board members.
- Retired Federal Judge Frederic N. Smalkin was named to the MES board as board secretary. Judge Smalkin served as Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Maryland.
- The governor directed state budget officials to launch a comprehensive audit, which is currently ongoing. MES conducted its own audit and has made changes to its expense reimbursement practices.
- In a letter to General Assembly leaders, the governor called for bipartisan systemic reforms to the governance structure, oversight, and management of this quasi-governmental agency.