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Proceedings and Debates of the 1967 Constitutional Convention
Volume 104, Volume 1, Debates 1305   View pdf image (33K)
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[Nov. 28] DEBATES 1305

job. The arguments for the present system
roughly run as follows: First, experience
shows that it provides us with an experi-
enced man of honor and trust to perform
the multiple duties of state treasurer. Sec-
ond, it provides a time-tested method for
securing honesty in the handling of public
funds. The supreme confidence in a com-
puter may be present in some areas, but
there has been no machine which has been
invented which can not be tampered with
or circumscribed by the ingenuity of man.
Third, the office provides continuity in pub-
lic finance which is extremely valuable to
both the governor and the legislature.
Fourth, it provides a vehicle to whom the
legislature can delegate certain adminis-
trative functions with confidence.

There are many functions which the
legislature has delegated to the Board of
Public Works only because it has confidence
in the hard quality of that board and only
because it knows it has a representative
there upon whom it can rely to exercise
good judgment.

Fifth, it provides a relatively non-politi-
cal administration of the office of treasurer.
Now, I would like to quote Governor
Agnew, and I am quoting directly from
his address to the Constitutional Conven-
tion, State House, Annapolis, Maryland, at
2:00 P.M., September 29, 1967. The Gover-
nor made this statement: "In my opinion
the Board of Public Works should continue
but be reconstituted. The Board provides a
forum for public scrutiny and presents an
opportunity for the expression of legisla-
tive views on significant decisions. I be-
lieve the state treasurer, an adjunct of the
legislative arm, should continue as the rep-
resentative of the General Assembly."

Now here is a governor who works with
the treasurer all the time expressing his
opinion about this office. I think the legis-
lature would like to continue to elect the

The fortunate thing about the election of
the treasurer, is that when the governor
makes the recommendation to the legisla-
ture and the governor and legislature can
agree upon the appointee and the person
elected, he is going to be a man of high

Let us look at the New Jersey experi-
ence back in the forties, when Governor
Hoffman had the appointment of all the
fiscal officials. These people conspired to-
gether and took thousands of dollars from
the treasury. I do not know the exact fig-
ure, but it is my recollection it ran to a

million or better. The State did not find
out about this until Governor Hoffman
died. It was several years after he left
office, and it was never discovered.

If you permit a situation where the
governor and his appointees have full con-
trol over all of the fiscal affairs of the
State, you run the risk of a situation de-
veloping which has never occurred in Mary-

You may say we are going to have
honest officials and I think we do in the
main. I hope so. My observation is that we
do. But nevertheless, as Edgar Bergen said
to Charley McCarthy, "You would not
cheat the friends who trust you", Charley
said "Well, those are the only ones you can

We want to have a system which pro-
vides the necessary scrutiny of public fi-
nances so if there be any temptation what-
soever the system will overcome the temp-
tation. The retention of the treasurer in
the constitution provides a logical office
for legislative designation to this board
of administrative review or interdepart-
mental review.

If we do place a treasurer in the con-
stitution under section 4.23, the treasurer
would be appointed as an executive official.
Certainly the legislature would never elect
an official of the executive department to
act as the legislative representative on the
Board of Public Works, so that the time-
honored system of providing the treasurer
as the legislative representative on the ad-
ministrative board dealing with court
matters would be eliminated.

We have a practical and pragmatic as-
sociation. The governmental theorists look
and say it should not work this way, be-
cause this is wrong in theory. I say to you
that the constitutional nature of the posi-
tion draws good men.

How could we possibly obtain more
highly qualified persons for this highly
qualified office than we have had in Mary-
land's experience?

If the treasurer becomes a mere ap-
pointee of the governor, certainly you are
not going to get the type of individual who
has a high standing in the community, so
you run the risk of having the appointment
of a political person. And when this hap-
pens, the man who does the work really is
chief deputy and the politician is a figure-

As Delegate Adkins said, Maryland has
been fortunate in having high class treas-



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Proceedings and Debates of the 1967 Constitutional Convention
Volume 104, Volume 1, Debates 1305   View pdf image (33K)
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