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Duncan resigns from U-Md. vice presidential post

October 16, 2008

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) -- Former gubernatorial candidate Doug Duncan is resigning from his post as Vice President for Administrative Affairs at the University of Maryland.

The departure, announced Wednesday in an e-mail from University President C.D. Mote, comes weeks after Duncan backed off comments that he was told he'd lose his job if he attended a political forum with Republican former Gov. Robert Ehrlich. The resignation is effective Nov. 7.

The former Montgomery County executive challenged Gov. Martin O'Malley for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 2006 and later dropped out to seek treatment for depression.

Last month, Duncan said the university system's top lobbyist, former state senator P.J. Hogan, relayed a message from the governor's office directing Duncan to pull out of the forum. In a statement later, the university system said Duncan misinterpreted informal advice as an official directive.

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Duncan did not give a reason for his departure in a statement released Wednesday, but said he was proud of his tenure and did not "come to the decision lightly." He said he will join CivicUS, a government advisory firm, next month as a co-founder and senior vice president for research and business development.

Duncan's decision to resign had "nothing to do" with Duncan's comments about the forum, Hogan said Wednesday.

Duncan's efforts to create a vibrant town center in College Park with upscale restaurants, a four-star hotel, student housing and a live music venue were praised by Mote and others. Hogan said Duncan's experience with the downtown Silver Spring revitalization project made him a "perfect fit" for the job.

Mote said he did not know why Duncan was leaving but that Duncan had talked publicly since the incident about his plans to look for another job.

"We wanted him to come, and we wanted him to stay," said Mote, who described the episode as "a little stress between friends."

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. said he thought Duncan chafed under the university system regime. Duncan has been a "CEO, mayor of Rockville and county executive," he said, and "in the university system, you've got to deal with the hierarchy."

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