In his first job out of office, Glendening to fight sprawl
Educating lawmakers is group's national goal
By David Nitkin
February 11, 2003
Former Gov. Parris N. Glendening's first job after a 30-year political
career will combine his experience as a teacher with a commitment to land
preservation that became a hallmark of his
final years in office.
Glendening, 60, is set to announce today that he will become president of a newly formed organization called the Smart Growth Leadership Institute.
Affiliated with Smart Growth America - a national Washington-based coalition
of planning and environmental groups - the institute will strive to educate
political leaders on the value of
programs and policies to curb sprawl.
"He will be a paid staff member," said David Goldberg, a spokesman for
Smart Growth America. "We've raised money to create an institute for elected
officials, to teach them about Smart
Growth policy. He's going to head that."
Glendening did not return a telephone message left at his temporary
Annapolis office yesterday, but he has scheduled a news conference for
this morning in Washington with Don Chen,
executive director of Smart Growth America.
He will be joined at the new institute by Harriet Tregoning, special secretary of the Maryland Office of Smart Growth, a creation of the former governor.
Tregoning said yesterday that she will serve as the executive director, overseeing most of its day-to-day operations.
"He does all the really important stuff to raise money, and he is going to be the main spokesperson," Tregoning said.
Glendening and others have been raising money for the not-for-profit
venture and have commitments of between $300,000 and $400,000, Tregoning
said. She declined to disclose which
foundations or other groups have given money. "We are hoping we can run the organization on a half-million to a million dollars a year," she said.
If Glendening continues raising money for the institute, it would be no surprise if he turns to some of his most loyal supporters over the years, such as organized labor.
As governor, Glendening - a longtime political science professor at
the University of Maryland, College Park - gave collective bargaining rights
to state workers and public university
employees and included a 2 percent salary increase for state unions in his final budget.
Amid cries of fiscal irresponsibility, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. overturned the raises.
Representatives of the AFL-CIO did not respond yesterday to questions about whether the union has contributed to Glendening's effort.
Neither Tregoning nor Goldberg would disclose Glendening's salary, although
Tregoning indicated that at least initially, she may not earn as much as
in her position now, which pays
$116,000 yearly. And Glendening will be putting in fewer hours than she does, she said. "This is a half-time thing for him."
But Goldberg gave a different account, saying the former governor would
be working on additional projects that would take most of his time. "Along
with the other things he is planning
to do with us, it's pretty much full time," he said.
Smart Growth America has five paid employees.
Glendening left office amid much speculation about his next job. In
December 2001, he was forced to renounce his stealth candidacy for chancellor
of the University System of Maryland
after ethics experts and donors raised questions about the propriety of his seeking a $375,000-a-year position from members of the Board of Regents he appointed.
In the environmental field, the ex-governor has developed a national
reputation for Smart Growth programs, which have become models for other
states. Glendening refused to locate
government buildings where they would contribute to sprawl, and used the "carrot" of state funding rather than the "stick" of regulations to encourage denser development close to
"He has definitely proven in Maryland that livability is a major 21st-century asset," Tregoning said.
While Glendening's future is becoming clearer, the plans of former Lt.
Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend are still unknown. Reached at home yesterday,
the unsuccessful candidate for
governor said she had no announcement about her future and did not know when one would be made. "Don't worry about me," she said.
Asked about a story circulating in Annapolis that she was trying to
start an international political consulting firm and that she had recently
traveled to London to secure clients,
Townsend responded: "All rumor, all rumors."
Copyright © 2003, The Baltimore Sun