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Ehrlich to headline chamber dinner alone

September 20, 2008|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

WASHINGTON COUNTY - Even after an "order" supposedly turned out to be a misunderstanding, Douglas M. Duncan still isn't coming to Hagerstown for a dinner of political discourse.

Duncan, a former Montgomery County, Md., county executive and current University of Maryland at College Park vice president, was going to appear at a chamber of commerce dinner, the Democratic co-headliner with former Gov. Robert Ehrlich, a Republican.

They were to speak together at a Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce dinner Oct. 14 at Duffy's on Potomac in Hagerstown.

But, last week, Duncan said P.J. Hogan, a University System of Maryland vice chancellor, told him the governor insisted he not appear or else he could lose his job.

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However, Hogan, a former state senator, said it wasn't a threat and he was just offering advice to a fellow former-elected-official-turned-state-employee.

University officials later stressed that state employees, including Duncan, have a right to "personal political activity during time outside of working hours."

A university statement said Duncan apologized for misunderstanding Hogan.

Yet, despite being allowed to come to Hagerstown, Duncan won't, an assistant in his office said Wednesday, adding that he isn't taking any more media calls about what happened.

Chamber President Brien J. Poffenberger said Wednesday that the chamber couldn't secure another Democrat of Duncan's stature, so Ehrlich will appear on his own.

Tickets cost $60 and are available at www.hagerstown.org.

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