O’Malley did appoint an Unregistered Democratic Lobbyist to the Board of Education

Yesterday, we talked about the fact that Governor O’Malley appointed an unregistered Democratic lobbyist to the Anne Arundel County Board of Education. And I got an email from Ms. Birge this morning confirming that very fact:

I’d like to introduce myself. I’m Teresa Milio Birge, and I’m the new District 32 appointee to the Board of Education. One of my friends recently put me on google alerts, and gave me a call this morning that I was the topic of your most recent blog. I thought I’d help you out and nip this in the bud for you. In 2005, after I gave birth to my second child, I stopped working. But I didn’t want to lose touch with everyone I had known in my 10 years of nonpartisan work for and with the legislature. So, my mother, who at the time was a senior center director, knew that the Association of Senior Centers needed some help with the legislature. And I was bored. It was a perfect fit. We signed a $1500 yearly contract from July 1 2005 to June 30 2006 which we renewed through June 30 2007. I’ve been busier this year with my accounting work and knew that I would not be able to put in as many hours (charging them a ridiculously low rate of $25 an hour), so we agreed to just charge hourly. I haven’t yet billed them for the year, but it will fall in far below the $1500 mark this year.

Would love it if you could clarify on your post. I even made sure when I forwarded my CV to the governor’s office I explained this, because I certainly don’t want anyone mistakenly assuming that I’m not registered when I should be.

If you have any questions, please call me or email me back – I’d be more than happy to answer them! My cell is [redacted].

Teresa Milio Birge

So, to recap, she is an unregistered Democratic Lobbyists, but falling within the guidelines of the ethics laws.

But man, does that message sound like backtracking or what? Between that and the comments made on the original post, the message I get from this is 1) I’m a lobbyist, but it’s OK, an 2) God I don’t want to make Governor O’Malley look bad.

Here’s what we need to take from this. Whether or not any ethics laws were broken is really inconsequential to the larger problem. The problem is the fact that Governor O’Malley appointed an individual to represent District 32 who has spent the majority of her professional career as a Professional Lobbyist, either for the State of Maryland or for private companies such as this one. Birge has no professional experience with education issues, which of course flies in the face of the concept that this School Board Nominating Commission was going to give us qualified people to speak on issues surrounding education. And again, the Governor and the Commissioners he appointed tried to slip an unregistered Democratic lobbyist onto the Board of Education and hoped that nobody noticed.

Well, somebody did notice. And I don’t find the Governor appointing Annapolis insiders to the Board of Education to be particularly humorous at all. We need people who are serious about Education. Not rubber stamps for the Governor’s policies.

134 days until Election Day…


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