Picked by Miller, Baker Promises to Rebuild Trust in UMMS Board

    Former Prince George’s County executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) has a new gig.

    Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) informed senators on Monday that he’d named Baker to the University of Maryland Medical System board, which has been expanded and reformed since a self-dealing scandal among former board members, including former Baltimore mayor Catherine E. Pugh (D), came to light earlier this year.

    “Former Executive Baker is well-versed in healthcare, and his reputation of hard work, and ethical behavior is renowned throughout the state,” Miller wrote to James C. DiPaula Jr., the new chairman of the board.

    The entire board will be overhauled by Jan. 1 under reform legislation passed in Annapolis this year, which ends the terms of all current board members and subjects the medical system to tighter rules regarding financial deals.

    While the legislation passed this year allows outgoing board members to apply for reappointment this year, Hogan indicated a desire last month to oust the entire board.

    He named 11 new board members in June, with additional appointments expected by October and January.

    The bill also added conditions for board member qualifications, confirmation by the Maryland Senate, and specified that two members shall be appointed by the Senate president and House speaker.

    New House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones (D-Baltimore County) has not yet named her appointee to the board.

    Baker was Prince George’s county executive for eight years and finished second in the Democratic gubernatorial primary last year. As county executive, Baker worked with state officials and UMMS leadership to bring a new and enlarged hospital to Prince George’s County. The project is still under construction.

    Miller wrote to DiPaula that he was “confident that [Baker’s] leadership and contributions will benefit the System and the entire state as we put this ugly chapter behind us.”

    Baker tweeted Monday night that he was honored by the appointment, thanking Miller.

    He promised to “work with fellow board members and UMMS leadership to rebuild trust and integrity of this valuable institution to our state’s health and economy.”

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    Danielle E. Gaines
    Danielle Gaines most recently worked for Bethesda Beat covering Montgomery County. Previously, she spent six years at The Frederick News-Post as the paper’s principal government and politics reporter for half that time, covering courts and legal affairs before that. She also reported for the now-defunct The Gazette of Politics and Business in Maryland and previously worked as a county government and education reporter at the Merced Sun-Star in California’s Central Valley.