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Hogan, Franchot Stay Tight At First Board Of Public Works

Christopher Connelly/WYPR

Since he was elected governor, Larry Hogan and Comptroller Peter Franchot have had nothing but praise for each other.  The Democrat and Republican have even gone shopping together. Their bipartisan bro-mance continued Wednesday at Hogan’s first Board of Public Works meeting.

Hogan was applauded as he entered the meeting of the three-member Board – the first he’d ever attended. He came in right as the meeting was scheduled to start at at 10 o’clock, which was something something that rarely happened under Gov. Martin O’Malley, who was regularly 15 to 30 minutes behind schedule.

“This fact that we’re starting on time is very symbolic and I think important to the citizens of the state,” Franchot said.

Later, Hogan balked at a request to pay a public relations firm hired on an emergency contract this summer to help manage the state’s response a surge in unaccompanied immigrant children from Central America coming into Maryland. Hogan said he understood it was after the fact and the small business was owed money, but he said the $40 thousand contract should not have been considered an emergency.

“If a pipe bursts, that’s an emergency. Hiring a political firm to come in and give you PR advice is not an emergency,”

Franchot liked that too. “It’s like a redheaded Eskimo, it doesn’t happen very often where an agency is told that what they are producing is unacceptable, and I want to applaud the governor,” he said.

Often the odd man out when O’Malley, with whom Treasurer Nancy Kopp often aligned, led the board, Franchot now looks to be on the inside.

Christopher Connelly is a political reporter for WYPR, covering the day-to-day movement and machinations in Annapolis. He comes to WYPR from NPR, where he was a Joan B. Kroc Fellow, produced for weekend All Things Considered and worked as a rundown editor for All Things Considered. Chris has a master’s degree in journalism from UC Berkeley. He’s reported for KALW (San Francisco), KUSP (Santa Cruz, Calif.) and KJZZ (Phoenix), and worked at StoryCorps in Brooklyn, N.Y. He’s filed stories on a range of topics, from a shortage of dog blood in canine blood banks to heroin addicts in Tanzania. He got his start in public radio at WYSO in Yellow Springs, Ohio, when he was a student at Antioch College.