ANNAPOLIS – State Treasurer Richard N. Dixon, the first African American to hold the post, announced his resignation Thursday due to the difficulties of managing his workload with advancing diabetes.
Dixon went blind in one eye a year ago from the disease.
“Although I have worked for a year with this condition, it has been extremely difficult for me to perform my duties in the manner to which I have been accustomed,” he said.
He is retiring reluctantly, he said, but was looking forward to spending time with his grandchildren and investing money without the ethical restrictions of his position.
The General Assembly must now elect a treasurer to fill the remaining year of Dixon’s four-year term. Dixon was first elected treasurer in 1996.
Maryland is one of four states whose legislature elects the treasurer. If the House and Senate fail to hold an election before Dixon’s Feb. 2 retirement, Chief Deputy Treasurer Charles G. Williams will become treasurer until the vote.
Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., D-Calvert, said a selection committee would be formed to review candidates and make recommendations to the Legislature.
Candidates would soon be advertising their interest in the position, Miller said.
State House speculation has put House Speaker Casper Taylor, D-Allegany, as the top contender for the post. Taylor announced Thursday that he would not seek it, said Delegate Carol Petzold, D-Montgomery.
Other potentially interested legislators were Delegate Nancy K. Kopp, D- Montgomery, Sen. Robert Neall, D-Anne Arundel, and Sen. Clarence Mitchell, D- Baltimore, Petzold said. Mitchell has garnered much public attention lately over his threat to leave the Democratic Party if his concerns about the fairness of redistricting were not addressed.
Dixon was recently involved in a dispute over whether the state pension system should hire an outside consultant to guide its investments after the fund lost $3 billion last year. Dixon, who serves on the pension board, opposed the hiring.
He recently reversed his opposition, under pressure from the Legislature. He referred to the General Assembly members Thursday as “my bosses.”
Besides the management of the state’s monies, the treasurer serves on many boards and commissions, including the three-member Board of Public Works, which approves state spending. Dixon’s successor will play a decisive role in disputes between the board’s other two members, Gov. Parris N. Glendening and Comptroller Donald Schaefer. Glendening honored Dixon in a news release, saying, “It has been my pleasure to serve with Treasurer Dixon – he has been a friend, professional and a pioneer who has made great contributions to his community and the entire State of Maryland.” Sens. Clarence Blount, D-Baltimore, and Nathaniel McFadden, D-Baltimore, were also present to honor Dixon’s contributions.
Dixon said he was proud of his service as treasurer, saying, “The office has never run as efficiently and effectively as it has today.” Dixon will retire with more than 27 years in public service, including eight years on the Carroll County Board of Education and 13 years as a Carroll County delegate. -30- CNS-1-17-02