How much did three days of public farewells to William Donald Schaefer cost taxpayers? The amount appears to be lower than one might expect, although the planners of the event – as well as the mayor’s and governor’s press offices – have not yet given out any hard numbers.
A group of former Schaefer aides put together the funeral ceremonies for the four-term Baltimore mayor and two-term Maryland governor, who has no surviving family members. The events were then coordinated through the Maryland Military Department, which organizes services for high-level state officials.
Lt. Col. Charles S. Kohler, spokesman for the department, said the only direct cost to his agency was $4,400 for the artillery battery that fired a 19-shot salute at Schaefer’s interment at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens.
Otherwise, command-and-control coordination with the Anne Arundel, Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Maryland State Police was “part of our normal everyday job” that did not result in extra pay or overtime, Kohler said.
The Maryland National Guard’s Honor Guard carried the Schaefer casket during the ceremonies as part of their fulltime jobs. Last year, the honor guard conducted 3,000 military honors for veterans. The 229th Army Band of the National Guard performed at the funeral and interment services as part of its annual training, Kohler added.
Kohler said Schaefer received “the highest level of honors” because he was commander-in-chief of the Maryland Military Department.
Along with commanding Maryland’s military, Schaefer “was also a retired colonel in the Army who served in World War II,” said Michael D. Golden a former spokesman for Gov. Schaefer. “That is why he gets full military honors.”
For costs involving the funeral services, transportation and security, Kohler referred questions Golden and Robert C. Douglas, another former spokesman for Gov. Schaefer.
Douglas said that he put some of the incidental costs for the funeral on his own credit card. “This will all get sorted out,” he said. Other than that, he and Golden referred questions about the funeral to Lainy Lebow-Sachs, another former Schaefer aide.
Golden said Lebow-Sachs led the planning of the funeral and other tributes, including a funeral procession across parts of the city. “Lainy convened a group of us a week before he passed and we started thinking about how to honor him,” said Golden, director of external affairs for the Maryland State Retirement and Pension System.
Lebow-Sachs, executive vice president of external affairs at the Kennedy Kreiger Institute, has not responded to an e-mail request for information from The Brew.
Ian T. Brennan, press secretary for Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, said on Wednesday he did not know the public costs of Schaefer’s “final tour” through the city and viewing of the casket at City Hall, but would get those figures.
At the close of business Friday, that information was not provided.
Nor did any response come from Gov. Martin O’Malley’s press office, which was contacted last week by The Brew about state expenditures.
The last politician to hold both the job of Baltimore mayor and Maryland governor was Theodore R. McKeldin. (He was elected for two terms in both positions.)
McKeldin was buried by his family in Green Mount Cemetery in 1974 without a state ceremony or public funeral.