Capital News Service
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — A new Maryland governor is on his way into office and the signs they are a-changing.
Well, not quite yet.
From highway signs to website photos and even artwork, administration change affects more than just policy.
Transitioning from one governor to the next involves nearly every state agency and department. They plan, coordinate and take care of the multitude of small details that can often go unnoticed.
Between Election Day on Nov. 4, and the gubernatorial inauguration scheduled for Jan. 21, state employees have 79 days to get everything in place.
Former Gov. Parris Glendening recalled his transition into office in late 1994 and early 1995.
“It’s a fascinating process,” Glendening said. “As best I can tell, it was almost on autopilot and the reason being is we have very good professional staff all over the departments [in the state].”
How about those welcome signs on the highway?
“Maryland welcomes you, enjoy your visit,” they read, on various roads that enter the state.
Underneath the Free State’s message is a placard with the governor’s name on it. Someone needs to change that sign – just one example of the superficial aspects of the transition.
Those highway signs are created and placed by the State Highway Administration, which has its own sign shop near Baltimore Washington International-Thurgood Marshall Airport.
The state has about 21 welcome signs featuring the governor’s name, said State Highway Administration Assistant Chief of Traffic Operations Paul Stout.
“To my knowledge we’ve never had a set date [for the signs to go up],” Stout said.
Stout said the State Highway Administration has never been late with installing all of the signs.
“It takes us very little time,” Stout said of fabricating and installing the signs. “With two guys working, we could [fabricate all of them] in one day.”
The shop makes signs two ways: a silkscreen process similar to printing T- shirts, and a hand-fabrication method for “one-off” signs, according to Stout.
For the governor’s name, “we use the hand-fabrication method due to the different sizes of the signs,” Stout said.
Some signs with the governor’s name are roadside while others are overhead and hang over highways. These are larger, yet simpler to install, because they are comprised of two panels, each smaller than an entire roadside sign.
“It could take longer [to install overhead signs], but we make each panel so one person can handle it,” said Stout.
Due to the small size and light weight of the signs, Stout said, installing each one takes about 30 minutes or less.
Sign shop Operations Manager Eugene “Sonny” Bailey said sign sizes can be anywhere from 12 feet by 15 feet to 8 feet by 8 feet.
Stout said it costs about $2,500 to fabricate all the governor’s name signs, and the installation cost is about $200 apiece. Based on those figures, each sign costs roughly $320 to fabricate and install. In total, replacing all the signs costs about $6,700.
The old signs are recycled by a scrap metal dealer who picks up the aluminum panels and writes a check to the state based on the weight of the load.
Transitions include more than just hardware and manufacturers