Howard County Maryland Blog

Local Politics and Current Events

Politics at its Worst

Posted by David Keelan on Sunday, October 22, 2006

Ulman said he regards the questioning of his old job title as a Republican attack and labeled it “grasping at straws” and “politics at its worst.”

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

In an article describing the background and experience of the candidates for Howard County Executive The Baltimore Sun examines the question I have been asking  Here, Here and  Here   However, Mr. Ulman did not answer the question very well.  In fact, this article does not do any favors for Mr. Ulman.  It shows that Mr. Ulman is inflating his title and experience and I think it is for political purposes.  Regardless, one should not mis-represent one’s credentials or give an employer or voters a skewed and false impression of one’s background and experience.

The question as The Sun asks:

For example, was Democrat Ken Ulman “Director of the Board of Public Works and Special Projects,” as he claims, or a less exalted staffer when he worked in the late 1990s for Gov. Parris N. Glendening?

Questions about Ulman’s former job title arose in a local computer blog run by David Keelan, a Republican activist. Keelan said he could not find any published reference in state records to Ulman’s grand-sounding title, though there is a reference to Ulman as a “staff liaison” to the powerful board, made up of Maryland’s governor, state comptroller and treasurer.

I still can’t find any published documents.  Here is what was available from the Maryland State Archives from the year in question as Ken held the job less than one year.

1999-bpw-org-p2.pdf and 1999-bpw-org.pdf – Organization Chart for the Board of Public Works from 1999

1999-md-gov-office.pdf  – Gov. Glendening’s organization chart from 1999

“I think he’s inflating his title” to make the job seem more important, Keelan said.

Ulman and Glendening say the title is accurate. Ulman produced his former business card, which says “Kenneth S. Ulman, Director Board of Public Works and Special Projects.”

That is all he can produce?  A business card?  It does not even say “Director of the Board of Public Works.”  It says “Director Board of Public Works”.  Why doesn’t he just produce the official record, his M22, and settle this?  The Maryland State Archives does not archive business cards – there is a reason for that.

Even Glendening says it was just an internal title (not meant for use for political campaigns) and that is as far as he will go.

Glendening said Ulman’s title was used internally.

You know something, this is an old trick.  For example my old boss was a director of sales for Nynex before Bell Atlantic bought Nynex.  He used to carry a business card that said “Area Vice President”.  He told me the company wanted sales directors to have two business cards, one with our title and one with the Vice President title even though they didn’t hold the title officially or by Human Resource standards.   Bell Atlantic thought it was a good idea and adopted the practice too.  He was not a VP and he was amused that he was required to have the cards.

Also, Verizon has staff people that interact with the community on a regular basis.  They are Senior Staff Consultants but they have business cards in their pockets that say Vice President.  They don’t manage a department, a person, or $1.00.  They have the “Assistant Vice President” title so people feel comfortable they are talking with someone who can get things done for them. 

All Mr. Ulman’s business card proves to me it that he had used it as a working title and it was a glorified title for a staff member who had one responsibility:

“flagging items the governor might want to examine.”  According to Governor Glendening.

He was not as he claims “Secretary of the Cabinet”  He was secretary to the cabinet and took notes.

Ulman, then a young lawyer, also was secretary to the governor’s Cabinet.  According to Governor Glendening.

All the former Governor can say is:

“I can tell you he was there and did his job,” Glendening said.

That is not a glowing recommendation.  He was there and did his job.  That is it?

Ulman said he regards the questioning of his old job title as a Republican attack and labeled it “grasping at straws” and “politics at its worst.”

Politics at its worst?  He would know.

Other references to Mr. Ulman’s title that appeared in the press.

whom Ulman served as the staff member for the Board of Public Works (he doesn’t even get the respect of the title Liaison).

he was appointed Glendening’s administrative representative to the state Board of Public Works, which reviews large contracts. (administrative representative not director)

Ulman boasts significant experience in state government, working for the state Board of Public Works, (notice no mention of director)

As far as the other two candidates, Chris Merdon and Steve Wallis.

Steve Wallis is a conservative Republican that worked for Ellen Sauerbrey and George W Bush before he became an independent candidate.

Chris Merdon, is he a Vice President?  Ulman called him a lobbyist (politics at its worst).

After questions about his job title began circulating, Ulman countered by wondering whether Merdon was hired more for “his contacts with the Republican administration” of Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. than for his executive ability.

Oh no.  Do you mean that really happens?  The best people with the best qualifications and knowledge about the job and the people actually get hired?  Problem is that Merdon had the title at his previous company CSC.  Merdon still manages a cardre of people, a multi Million dollar budget, muli Millions in revenue, and multi Millions in quota.

My company sells millions of dollars of telecommunications services to the State of Maryland, it’s 23 Counties and dozens of municiple governments.  None of the account team members, including the Senior and Regional VP are lobbyist.

Ulman is accusing Merdon of breaking the law (more politics at its worst) by not being a registered lobbyist and has been doing so since March 2006.  I raised the question about Ulman’s claim to be the “Director of the Board of Public Works” shortly afterward and he accuses me of playing politics at its worst. 

To top it all off Ulman launched an anonymous negative campaign just two weeks ago attacking and distorting his opponents record, and then he accuses me of playing politics at its worst?  He has chutzpah.

Again, this is consistent with Ken Ulman’s playing loose with the facts so he can win at all costs.  I can’t wait to start seeing more Ulman yard signs come down.  I have already seen two come down in my neighborhood.


18 Responses to “Politics at its Worst”

  1. mary smtih said

    The word is Independent. There’s no ‘a’. Learning how to spell this will be important in the coming years.

    Small wonder the post on this article is so….long, shall we say? The result of laying out facts did not make Merdon look good. Thank goodness someone has facts.

    And what do on-the-fence republicans say about Wallis? Those who I talk with are voting anti-republican this year due to national politics. Neighbors and friends relay that they are being excluded from the party they’ve always identified with and are withdrawing support. Some have even switched parties (gasp). They say they are voting for Wallis.

    Oh, I remember now. It’s only bad to switch parties for some people. Others who cross party lines and pull “endorsements” from party candidates while being seen with the the opposing party candidate are ok, but it depends on the level of power. Some republicans who are seen with the opposing party candidate are hung out to dry, blacklisted, much disdained.

    Again, the education.

    It is all about power, after all. Voters? What voters?

  2. hocomd said

    You are sounding increasingly bitter and defensive. Even a simple invitation to coffee is contorted and twisted and you search out a conspiracy in even that kind gesture when all it was was an invitation to coffee and a chance to meet one another.
    Next time just say no thank you.

    What facts about Merdon are you talking about? While preparing this article and during my interview with Larry Carson told me he called the HR department at ASC. They verified two things:
    1. He is employed by ASC
    2. He is a Vice President – not a lobbyist
    If he was a lobbyist he would have said so.

  3. mary smtih said

    OMGoodness David. You invited me to coffee – with someone else!

    David Keelan has yet to invite Mary Smith to coffee.

  4. mary smtih said

    OMGoodness David. You invited me to go and have coffee – with someone else!

    David Keelan has yet to invite Mary Smith to coffee.

  5. hocomd said

    Ok. Are you busy November 8th?

  6. mary smtih said

    Now, is that an invitation? Why so vague?

  7. mary smtih said

    David must’ve gone back to bed.

    Let’s see what controversy Mary can stir up while he is snoozing…..

    Oh, here’s something.

    “Scandals dog Republicans”, page 3 in the A section of the Sun. Since we’re now concerned about what the Sun says, it’s only logical to explore.

    Abramoff, child sexual stalking, abuse of position, covering up child sexual stalking and abuse of position (that is the worst part of it all), war based on lies, sons, brothers, sisters dying overseas for the same democracy that is increasingly disappearing within our own shores.

    The big democrat scandal was Clinton’s personal conduct (shameful) and again, lying about it was even worse, and this is our solution, to put another major party in power that they cannot manage? The Republicans in power have not used the power responsibly.

    Thanks, George, for the temporary decrease in gas prices, and the republicans running for office especially thank you. However, sacraficing the safety of our children and the saftey of the country was not worth the trade-off.

  8. Ralph said

    I’ll meet you somewhere for coffee on the 8th! Talk about narrow minded, now only independents are okay?


  9. hocomd said


    Yes, it is an invitation for coffee (I am buying) on November 8th at 7am.

    Pardon me for appearing vague.



  10. hocomd said

    This is a local blog. Now you want to ignore local issues and try to interject national politics into the debate.

  11. Numbersgirl said

    I must have read a different article. It absolutely did not have the tone that you claimed it to have. The commentary you offer in your blog, of course, changed the tone.

    I really did not see how this article helped or hurt either candidate (and Wallis of course…)

    As for Ulman signs coming down, I would have to say that this alone is not an indication of changing support. There is a lot of sign stealing and vandalism happening right now. Out by where I am, I am surprised at how it is only the Democratic candidates’ signs being brought down by the “wind”. The Republican candidates’ signs must be fortified better somehow. 🙂

  12. hocomd said

    A friend (an Ulman supporter) and I were on the phone and he read the article and said “Oh, S&&&^!”  I didn’t change the tone in that conversation.  He picked up the tone all by himself.

    I guess it depends. Ulman is in melt down.

    Please do not try to change the subject to sign stealing. Remember it was two democrats who were prosecuted in Ho Co 2 years ago after being caught red handed by the police. They were found guilty, fined and paid restitution.

  13. Numbersgirl said

    Wow. Sense of humor, anyone?

  14. hocomd said

    This whole thread is ridiculous. Numbers. The story about my friend doesn’t amount to a hill of beans. It is antecdotal at best. I admit it, but it will have an effect none the less.

  15. mary smtih said

    Ok, I’ll bring it local, since the national scandals are too hot to touch here, and may damage party-ticket voting in this mid-term election. (may? that’s optimistic…)

    Late tonight or early tomorrow, I’ll post a question for David that could be the most important yet posed on the blogs. This question will speak to the future as well as history, it’ll provoke internal debate on good v. evil, the order, priority, and magnitude of varying virtues, and all in one small sentence, multiple choice answers or sujective essay response.

    If David answers the question honestly, I’ll meet him for coffee. (Yike!) I’m counting on you David, do you regular thing, because spinning does not count as honesty, you know the standard in advance. (to press send, or not to press send…oooochooey)

  16. mary smtih said

    As planned:


    What if you discovered that a candidate who enjoys significant power and whom you fervently support lied to you, the blog, or citizens about a critical item? No benefit-of-the-doubt, they lied. What would you do? I’ll use terms which convey the magnitude.

    a. Resolve the lie by assuming that their priorities are different than yours, and continue to work their agenda (ignoring and thereby protecting their unequivocal pride, gluttony).
    b. Fall back on the fact that it’s all for the ‘greater good’ (not greed), justifying neutralization of the criticality issue.
    c. Minimize the trustworthiness issue by reclassifying the ‘critical item’ as less critical, ignore the betrayal, it’ll get in the way (of winning, patently claiming an absence of envy).
    d. Re-evaluate the candidate’s conscience-awareness, and talk with said candidate directly, knowing there will be very little change detected by observers, and the lie continues to do the work of lies quite successfully (here we have a claim of absence of sloth).
    e. Quietly curtail bull-horn support to minimal levels.
    f. Eliminate statements in support of their candidacy (employing a degree of temperance).
    g. Research, get thoughts together, confront the candidate, express dismay, pull support (in keeping with an idealist, a circle, a strength in patience as well as courage).
    h. Publicly pull support and state the reason (convergence of all that leads to humble courage with no expected benefit, and indeed, a good amount of retribution to be expected).


    Pick a candidate with a high degree of power. Then pick another who had less power, would you handle the two differently? (Invoke Dante if needed.)

  17. hocomd said

    It depends on if we are talking about jaywalking or murder – you know what I mean. How serious is the issue.
    Then I would speak to the candidate and go from there.

    If it was serious enough of an issue and the candidate outright lied I would probably pull my support.

    It all depends on what you are talking about.

  18. mary smith said

    jaywalking critical.

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