Share story

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Gov. Larry Hogan appointed a new health secretary on Thursday, after Maryland’s highest court said it would wait six months before hearing a legal dispute over a previous appointee that involves the constitutional powers of the executive and legislative branch.

Hogan announced that Robert Neall will replace Dennis Schrader, who will stay on as the department’s chief operating officer. Both appointments take effect Jan. 9.

Schrader was appointed last year, but the Senate never voted to confirm him. Hogan withdrew his name in the waning days of the session and reappointed him the day after lawmakers adjourned. Lawmakers, however, included language in the state budget preventing him from being paid without Senate confirmation.

Schrader sued for his salary, and a lower court ruled this month that the budget language created an unconstitutional intrusion on the governor’s authority. The attorney general’s office appealed, and the Court of Appeals stayed the lower court’s order until the case is heard in six months.

“Due to the fact that Secretary Schrader had already been illegally denied pay for six months, allowing his compensation to be delayed for an additional six months was simply not an acceptable option,” Hogan said in a statement.

Neall is well-known in Annapolis. He served in the House of Delegates from 1975 to 1987. He was Anne Arundel County executive from 1990 to 1994 and a state senator from 1996 to 2003. He also served as the CEO of a Medicaid managed care company and has held various positions in the Johns Hopkins Health System, including director of finance, director of marketing, vice president for development and external affairs and vice president of governmental relations. He has served as a senior adviser to the Hogan administration.