The composition of one of Maryland’s most influential governing bodies will be markedly different later this month after several high-profile appointments from last fall’s election come to fruition.

Gov. Larry Hogan and Comptroller Peter Franchot, two of the three members on the Board of Public Works, shared a series of reflective comments Wednesday as they sat on the decision-making body one final time.

The board – which also includes continuing member Dereck Davis, state treasurer – is charged with acting on contracts within state government. Twice monthly, the panel votes on expenditures for agencies devoted to natural resources, information technology and state police, among others.

Hogan, a Republican who is in his second four-year term as governor, ends his run Jan. 18. Democrat Wes Moore is succeeding him.

Davis and Franchot each are Democrats. Despite the different party affiliations, Hogan said he and his counterparts were able to come together and reach compromises on a range of issues that are pivotal to state government.

“It has indeed been a real honor to serve with both Comptroller Franchot and Treasurer Davis,” Hogan said as he presented his customary opening remarks at last week’s meeting.

Hogan also used his final chairmanship of the board meeting to present Franchot with a governor’s citation for his 16 years as state comptroller – and his more than 35 years of total elected service.

“He has tirelessly served the people of Maryland,” Hogan said of Franchot. “He modernized the office of the comptroller, making it a national model. In his office, he has instilled a culture of customer service and respect for the taxpayers. He’s been a true partner, and a true friend.”

Franchot, who is being succeeded later this month by newly elected Comptroller Brooke Lierman, said Wednesday’s Board of Public Works meeting was the 355th one he sat in through his top-level position in state government.

“We’ve reviewed hundreds of thousands of contracts over the last 16 years, preserved hundreds of thousands of lands for environmental conservation, approved hundreds of billions of dollars in state contracts and capital projects and effectively have executed our critical functions of being fiscal watchdogs on behalf of Maryland taxpayers,” Franchot said of the tasks he and his counterparts took on as board members.

Throughout his time on the Board of Public Works, Franchot said compromise has been a key component to approving the range of contracts that go before the group.

“Obviously, we have not agreed on some issues, but I’m immensely proud of the fact that this board has always maintained its tradition of working in a collaborative and bipartisan fashion,” Franchot said.

Davis – who, like Franchot, served in the General Assembly before taking his current role – described his initial stint as “the time of my life.”

“I never thought I could find anything else that would really replace what I experienced there,” Davis said. “While (my time in the General Assembly) will always hold a special place for me, being here with you gentlemen has made the transition for me, personally, so much more fulfilling and with purpose.”

Davis acknowledged there have been disagreements on the board, even within party lines, but had words of praise for Hogan and Franchot as he served alongside them for a final time because of the respectful manner they all worked together.

“It’s OK to disagree, but there’s a difference between disagreeing and being disagreeable,” Davis said. “If I can’t defend what I say or do, then I shouldn’t be saying it or doing it.”


David Fidlin

The Center Square contributor

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