The Republican State Central Committee of Anne Arundel County today criticized the timing and motives behind the recent announcement by Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney Frank Weathersbee that he is leaving office mid-term to join the Maryland State Parole Commission. While the vacancy requires a replacement to be selected by the 12-judge Circuit Court bench for Anne Arundel County, Weathersbee is lobbying for a close political ally to be chosen as his successor.
Weathersbee, a six-term incumbent who has served as the county’s State’s Attorney for the past 25 years, has endorsed Deputy State’s Attorney Thomas Fleckenstein as his replacement. Fleckenstein was one of the top donors to Weathersbee’s 2010 campaign before then being hired as his second-in-command in 2011.
“The State’s Attorney’s efforts to skirt not only the democratic process, but also a fair appointment process, are nothing but ‘inside baseball’ politics at their worst,” said Chairman Alan Rzepkowski. “If he is unable to fulfill his commitment to the voters who elected him, he should at least serve them one last time by not interfering in an otherwise impartial process to select the best possible replacement.”
“Meanwhile, his record of plea bargaining 95% of his cases – 25% of which were repeat offenders violating their probation – brings into question whether he is the best choice to serve on the Parole Commission, evaluating whether violent offenders should be released early from prison. This is not an appropriate job for someone who looks to take the easy way out 95% of the time.”
Rzepkowski noted that Fleckenstein was also a vocal opponent of legislation introduced into the General Assembly earlier this year which would have ended automatic salary increases for the State’s Attorney. The State’s Attorney is the only county official who receives guaranteed yearly salary increases. The bill, SB655, was ultimately unsuccessful. “It certainly implies that he felt the position was his to inherit,” Rzepkowski said.