O'Malley honored by magazine but title is in eye of beholder
You may have heard already: Gov. Martin O’Malley has been named a “Public Official of the Year” by Governing magazine. It’s a national magazine with a circulation roughly equal to the population of Columbia, Md., but the publication's praise for the governor has generated quite a buzz. Not all of it as flattering.
The governor picks up the award tonight at dinner to be held at the Willard InterContinental hotel in Washington, but the news has been out there for a while. O’Malley’s campaign manager seized on the pronouncement earlier this month and sent a letter to potential donors. He wrote: “We've got some exciting news that I wanted to share with you: Gov. O'Malley has been named ‘2009 Governor of the Year’ by Governing magazine. ... I hope you're as proud as I am that Gov. O'Malley has, with your support, made Maryland a model of smart, 21st-century governing tactics.”
Not so fast, the media chided. First The Washington Post noted in a blog posting that he was actually the only governor out of eight public officials who were honored, not exactly “Governor of the Year.” The Post asked Governing Editor Alan Ehrenhalt about O’Malley’s claim to a more lofty sounding award. "We don't use that title," Ehrenhalt said. “I suppose by extrapolation ... it's functionally true.”
Not surprisingly, the conservative blog Red Maryland soon weighed in, accusing O’Malley of “fudging the truth.” The blogger, clearly not a fan of the governor’s, went on to write: “But then again we already know O’Malley likes to fudge things, then—naturally—blame others for his problems.”
Which brings us to today, when O’Malley’s press office put out a notice about the honor.
The press shop is pretty clear about the matter: “Governor O'Malley will be officially honored tonight as Governing magazine's ‘Public Official of the Year’ for 2009. Governor O’Malley is one of eight individuals nationwide being honored, but is the only Governor to receive the award. The Governor is featured on the cover of the magazine’s November 2009 issue.”
To read the magazine story, which touts O’Malley’s data-driven approach to governing, and an extensive Q&A, click here.
This is what the magazine had to say about the governor/public official: "Everyone knows Martin O'Malley is a numbers guy. The data-driven approach to policy and administration that he created as mayor of Baltimore, known as "CitiStat," has been copied by cities across the country. Now, as governor of Maryland, O'Malley is showing that states, too, can improve performance by measuring what they do and relentlessly monitoring their progress."