Harford County’s delegates to the Maryland General Assembly in Annapolis are apparently engaged in an increasingly bitter dispute over delegation office management.
Delegation Chair Susan McComas has hired her aide from the 2008 session to be the delegation receptionist for the 2009. As the chair, she has the final word on choosing a receptionist, but others in the delegation wish they were consulted. Now some of the delegates say that no receptionist is needed. They are threatening not to contribute to the receptionist’s salary.
The Harford delegation office, in Room 326 of the Lowe House Building, includes Dels. McComas, Donna Stifler, H. Wayne Norman, and B. Daniel Riley. The fifth office was left open when Del. Mary-Dulany James received an individual office by House Speaker Mike Busch. Traditionally, those delegates in the delegation office have shared the cost of a receptionist. If they refuse to share the cost, the receptionist position cannot be funded.
The most vocal delegate in opposition to McComas’ choice is Del. Stifler. Stifler, who reportedly had difficulty in getting along with colleagues and staffers since her election in 2006, had a particularly bitter relationship with McComas’ aide last session. Now Stifler is not only opposing the choice for receptionist and the need for the position itself, but is reportedly seeking to move her office out of the delegation office.
There have been no indications that the other delegates would oppose her move. There remains some infighting over Stifler’s takeover of the room James vacated last session. This session the room is set to be shared by the delegation, another McComas decision that Stifler opposed.
McComas’ chairmanship has been plagued by organizational and staffing controversies. Speculation is rising that these disputes will fuel a Stifler challenge to McComas’ chairmanship this session.