From the Baltimore Sun
IWIF job interests Curran
Attorney general considers next step
By Jennifer Skalka
December 29, 2006
As outgoing Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr. packed his belongings
into boxes yesterday in his increasingly empty Baltimore office, he
said he is looking at potential job prospects and would be willing, if
approached, to serve as temporary president of the Injured Workers'
The agency has terminated its relationship with former state Sen.
Thomas L. Bromwell, president and CEO since 2002 of the state's largest
insurance fund for injured workers. Facing federal public corruption
charges and due to go to trial in March, Bromwell's last day will be
"As I am leaving in another few days, it is suddenly obvious that Mr.
Bromwell is also leaving in another few days, and they may be looking
for someone to either fill in temporarily or play a role there while
they look for someone who wants to be there long-term," said Curran,
the state's longest-serving attorney general, who did not seek
re-election this year.
"The coincidence is that my entire legal career was in insurance. I
said, gee whiz, maybe things happen in a different way, but that is
something that I could be interested in."
Curran, 75, said he was not ready to elaborate about the conversations
he has had about the job, saying only: "I have had some people express
some interest." He called the opportunity "exciting."
Daniel E. McKew, chairman of the fund's board, said he had not heard of
Curran's inclination. "It is absolutely news to me," he said.
McKew, who is serving as interim president until a replacement is
selected, said the nine-member board will meet next month to establish
criteria for the job.
"While insurance knowledge and workers' compensation knowledge is
important and high on the list, the main quality that we look for is
leadership," McKew said.
Fund board members are appointed by the governor, but the
organization's president is chosen by the board.
House Speaker Michael E. Busch, a rumored potential contender for the
job, put that rumbling to rest yesterday.
"I am not considering the IWIF job," said Busch, who was in
negotiations to take the position in 2000 but decided to stay in the
Busch said Curran could stand in while the board interviews other
"If the board believes Joe Curran in the interim can give the agency
stability and credibility in Annapolis, that may be an appropriate
direction to take, but I do think they need to look for a long-term
solution for the management of the company," he said.
Del. Dereck E. Davis, chairman of the House Economic Matters Committee,
said Curran's relationship with Gov.-elect Martin O'Malley, his
son-in-law, should not affect whether the attorney general is
considered to lead the fund.
"Joe Curran has a strong reputation in his own right and certainly does
not need his son-in-law to find him a job," said Davis, whose committee
handles workers compensation issues.
"For me, that is not an issue at all. If Joe is interested, and he is
the selection, I definitely think that is a positive," Davis said.
Incoming House Minority Leader Anthony J. O'Donnell, a Republican from
Southern Maryland, said he would like to see "some youthful and
innovative new leadership" at the workers' fund, and "not necessarily
someone with a lifetime of political connections."
"I am not sure that is the right direction to head in at this time,"
The $200,000-a-year position is expected to prompt several suitors,
state lawmakers said yesterday. And Curran, who said he is determined
to continue working, is weighing other options.
The attorney general said he has been approached by representatives
from the University of Baltimore and Loyola College about teaching
public policy classes.
He said he has also had conversations with officials at his alma mater,
the University of Baltimore School of Law.
Curran said that in addition to teaching, he hopes to advocate on the
national level for those issues about which he cares deeply, notably
for handgun control and against the death penalty.
And he said he will advise O'Malley when his counsel is sought - but
only in private.
One thing is certain as Curran sits in a chair in his office wearing a
white shirt and tie and dark slacks just five days before his
successor, Democrat Douglas F. Gansler, is sworn in: He is leaving
office, but he has no interest in retirement.
"From setting up pins in a bowling alley, to being a caddy, to
newspaper boy, to bank clerk, to the Air Force, I have always had a
job," Curran said.
"And suddenly I am going to wake up and what should I do today? Hmm,
not sure. ... I have got to do something, I intend to do something."
With his exit from the attorney general's office after two decades in
the job, Curran, a Democrat, closes the latest chapter of a
half-century career in public life.
Born in Florida and raised in Baltimore, a product of the heavily
Catholic Govans neighborhood and the Curran family's Irish political
machine, he has served in the House of Delegates and state Senate and
as lieutenant governor.
His white walls were bare yesterday but for a painting created by his
Curran marveled at the political and personal goodies he stumbled upon
in packing up his 20th floor office: the unused tickets to John F.
Kennedy's Jan. 20, 1961, inauguration (his wife had given birth two
weeks prior), his own baby bootie, papers from his mother's estate.
A committed liberal, Curran - a father of five and grandfather of 11 -
said yesterday that he has few regrets.
He is not sorry for supporting abortion rights even though he once was
chastised in church by his pastor.
He stands by his early - and then-unpopular - opposition to the Vietnam
War. (And he does not support the war in Iraq, either.)
If there is anything to lament, Curran confessed yesterday, it is a
matter that is out of his control. The years are progressing - and not
even the voters can make a difference on that count.
"You realize, where did the time go?" Curran said.
Copyright © 2006, The Baltimore Sun