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Poole named to slots commission

December 09, 2008|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

HAGERSTOWN - A former Washington County state delegate is among seven people who will decide where slots machines will be placed in Maryland.

Democrat D. Bruce Poole, a Hagerstown attorney, was one of two selections announced Monday by House Speaker Michael E. Busch.

Busch, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. and Gov. Martin O'Malley each filled two slots Monday on the Video Lottery Facility Location Commission.

Last week, O'Malley announced the other member - Donald C. Fry, who will be chairman.

The commission will decide the five locations for slot machines in Maryland, following last month's referendum in which voters approved legalizing up to 15,000 machines.

The only location specifically decided through the referendum is Rocky Gap State Park in Allegany County.

The other four locations - Anne Arundel, Cecil and Worcester counties and Baltimore City - were set only in approximate terms.

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It will be up to the Video Lottery Facility Location Commission to select locations and award operators' licenses through competitive bidding, according to O'Malley's office.

As a delegate, Poole opposed slot machines, but that will play no part in his work on the commission, he said Monday.

Poole said Busch, during their talks over the last several months, told him to "just get the best deal I can for the taxpayers."

O'Malley has said the state needs slots revenue to help plug a state budget shortfall expected to be more than $1 billion, even though the money won't come in right away.

Poole said he has kept track of various proposals for where slot machines should be placed over the last several years, going back to when slots supporter Robert Ehrlich was governor. "I've been plugged in, so to speak," he said.

As a delegate, Poole represented Subdistrict 2B. He served from 1987 to 1999.

Poole said he hasn't been told exactly when the commission will meet, but he expects it to be soon, so it can give a report to the Maryland General Assembly.

The legislature's 2009 regular session begins in January.

Busch's other choice for the commission is Thomas P. Barbera, who recently retired as a regional chief executive officer for UnitedHealthcare.

Miller's picks are retired Prince George's County Circuit Judge James H. Taylor and former state Senator and Anne Arundel County Executive Robert Neall.

The choices O'Malley announced Monday are Linda Read of Cecil County, a corporate secretary and treasurer for Paul Risk Associates Inc., a commercial builder, and Ella Pierce of Baltimore City, who is retired and was a consultant to the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration's Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program.

Fry, the chairman, is president and CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee.

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