January 16, 1979, Tuesday, Final Edition
SECTION: First Section; A1
LENGTH: 1520 words
HEADLINE: Mandel Resumes Office, Begins a 45-Hour Reign;
Mandel Reclaims His Office Quietly in a 'Touching Moment'
BYLINE: By David A. Maraniss and Michael Weisskopf, Washington Post Staff Writers
DATELINE: ANNAPOLIS, Jan. 15, 1979
Marvin Mandel, whose long political career was interrupted 17 months ago by a conviction on corruption charges, reclaimed the full powers of
the Maryland governor's office this afternoon for the final 45 1/2 hours of his term.
"It's a very sentimental and touching moment for me," said
Mandel, whose political resurrection began four days ago when an appeals
Richmond reversed his conviction and spared him a four-year prison sentence. "I came to the office of governor with a great deal of pride and I
want to leave as I came in."
Mandel was sitting in a front row seat in the House of
Delegates chambers, listening to Louis Goldstein deliver his inaugural
speech for a sixth
term as state comptroller, when the clock struck half past the hour of two and he became, once again, Maryland's governor in function as well
His first act in this renewed role was to slip into a back
room of House Speaker Benjamin L. Cardin's office and confer privately
with Blair Lee
III, the acting governor during Mandel's exile, and Harry R. Hughes, the man who will take over as governor at noon Wednesday.
The three men, all of whom had a share of the gubernatorial
title in one form or another over the last week, stayed in the room together
minutes. They emerged with smiles on their faces and little to say.
"We talked about the weather," said Mandel, after his first
face-to-face encounter with Hughes since the governor-elect won office
promising a change from the corruption-tainted Mandel administration. "I'm serious about that -- that's about all we talked about."
Lee said the meeting involved "the simplest kind of chit-chat
you've ever heard in your life." At one point, said Lee, Mandel offered
"some fatherly advice, but it was totally unmemorable."
Hughes said he went into the room to discuss legislation with Cardin. His encounter with Mandel, Hughes said, "was certainly not unfriendly."
And so the short second reign of Gov. Mandel -- something
that had been anticipated here as though it rivaled the return of Napoleon
-- began with a closed-door meeting dominated by trivial conversation.
After the session, Lee slipped away to get a haircut from
barber izzy Wolfe on Main Street, Hughes stepped outside to take a look
construction work going on for his inauguration, and Mandel took the elevator up to the second floor where he met again behind closed doors,
with former staff assistants.
Mandel spent the day precisely as he said he would at the
morning press conference at which he announced he would reassume power.
going to enjoy the sights of Annapolis," he said then. "I'm going to take telephone calls, meet with friends and associates, greet well-wishers."
Although his title as governor was automatically restored
Thursday night when the federal appeals court overturned his August 1977
Mandel was not legally authorized to function as chief executive without first rescinding a letter he signed 19 months ago transferring the full
powers of governor to Lee.
Regaining control of state government has little practical
significance for the 58-year-old Mandel just two days before Hughes enters
and Hughes have completed work on all the available patronage appoint-the 1980 budget, and Lee has used up ments to state boards and
Mandel, who pulled the strings of government like a master
puppeteer in his eight years in office, said he would allow the state to
run itself for
the next 48 hours. Whatever powers remain -- pardons, staff hirings and calling special sessions of the legislature -- will not be exercised in his
brief remaining tenure, he said.
"I'm not trying to prove anything," he said, as if to quell
speculation that he would use his final hours in office to get back at
and reward old friends. "Let me make one thing clear so we don't get into any complications at all. I'm not going to hire anybody. I'm not putting
anybody on the payroll. I'm not adding any staff. I'm not doing any of those things and, honest to God, you'll just be wasting your time if you
[reporters] run around to [former administrative officers] Hans [F. Mayer] to see if he has the [payroll] book out or check with the payroll clerk."
Then, he left himself an opening: "I was never a very inactive governor and I won't be if a problem arises."
The details of Mandelhs return were worked out during an
hour-long meeting at Lee's Silver Spring home Sunday, although the precise
the transfer of power was left until this morning.
The two men, politicians of greatly varying backgrounds
and styles who have guided Maryland government for the past decade, met
governor's office across an old stenographer's desk that was carted into the vacant room for the historic occasion.
Finally, they agreed on a 2:30 p.m. termination for Lee's
service as acting governor, giving him just enough time to complete Goldstein's
swearing in before hundreds of spectators in the House chambers. The letter was signed shortly before Mandel walked out to address the press
at 10:30 a.m.
Mandel, who has displayed a sharp sense of timing throughout
his political career, was prepared for any delays this afternoon as he
sat in the
chambers, his wife Jeanne at his side, and watched the Goldstein swearing-in.
When the time had reached 2:15 and the ceremony had yet
to pass the introductions stage, Mandel calmly took a sheet of paper out
pocket and waved it at Lee, who would have the power to swear-in Goldstein for only another 15 minutes. "I was prepared," said Mandel later.
"The letter in my pocket would have extended Blair's time in office for a few minutes."
Lee was able to conduct the swearing-in with minutes to
spare. The deed accomplished, he joked: "I've been keeping a close eye
on the clock.
Louis, you are sworn in and legitimately sworn in." Then Lee noted that the rabbi who delivered the invocation left a "pregnant pause when he
said 'Bless our governor.' I thought he was going to add -- 'whoever he may be'."
Lee, a Montgomery County politician who served as Mandelhs
lieutenant governor for seven years, has remained mildly amused by the
House commotion of recent days, acting at times as if he enjoyed falling back into his old role as number two man.
"I'm continuing to roll with the punches," said the 62-year-old
Lee, who believes his longtime association with Mandel caused him to lose
Democreatic primary for his own term last summer.
Lee's most perplexing problem since falling from power,
he joked, was finding a place to sit in a State House in the middle of
administrations. With Mandel taking his place in the governor's office and Secretary of State Fred Wineland occupying Lee's old lieutenant
govenor's suite, Lee said, "I may be wandering around the building looking for a chair."
Just about everything that happened in and around the State
House today had more symbolic than real meaning. Mandel visited the governor's
mansion at noontime, but only to pose for pictures and greet the staff there, not to move in.
Several of Mandel's former aides -- including patronage
secretary Maurice R. Wyatt and lobbyist Frank Harris -- were roaming the
halls of the
building all day, but they insisted that they had just come back to watch their old boss take over, not to help him do it. They were subdued and
stayed in the background today, unlike Friday, when they had charged into the State House shouting: "The Muldoons are back! The Muldoons
In the afternoon, workmen could be seen building the outdoor
podium and hauling folding chairs onto the State House grounds in preparation
Hughes' Wednesday inauguration. Mandel has not been asked to attend the inauguration, but he insisted again today that he did not feel
slighted by the lack of an invitation. "No, gentlemen, I don't feel slighted a bit," said Mandel, who maintained that there is a tradition in Maryland
that outgoing governors not attend such ceremonies."And the way I feel right now, a little slighting wouldn't hurt."
Hughes, when asked whether he would give Mandel a last-minute
invitation, said: "Well, I understand he would not come, even if invited.
doesn't want to distract from my day. I thank him for that."
Mandelhs dramatic four-day revival forced Hughes' staff
to reschedule its State House arrival. Several hours before the court reversal
Thursday, Hughes' appointment secretary, Louise Keelty, called her predecessor to warn him she planned to move into his office today.
"I've been looking for her all day," said Lee's patronage
chief, Simon McHugh, as he jokingly searched under his desk. "I just can't
Lt. Gov.-elect Samuel W. Bogley III was puzzling today
over plans by Hughes' aides to meet at the governor's mansion on the morning
inauguration so they could walk together to the new governor's swearing-in.
"When I knock on that door," said Bogley, "I don't know who's going to be there."
GRAPHIC: Picture 1, GOV. MARVIN MANDEL... "We talked about
the weather"; Picture 2, Maryland's governors, past, present and future
State House. They are, from left, Lee, Mandel and Hughes. AP