Ecker forms Howard transition team New executive taps business group

November 13, 1990|By Michael J. Clark | Michael J. Clark,Howard County Bureau of The Sun

Charles I. Ecker, the Howard County executive-elect, has tapped three people to lead his transition team who are from the business-dominated Economic Forum, which continuously sparred with County Executive Elizabeth Bobo over her land-use initiatives.

Beverly Wilhide, a florist and past president of the Forum, Michael W. Davis, a Columbia lawyer who is president-elect, and Alan M. Rifkin, a lawyer who is the group's general counsel and lobbyist, have agreed to help Mr. Ecker assume control of the county government.

Ms. Wilhide and Mr. Davis will jointly chair a transition team that will prepare an overall blueprint for Mr. Ecker, who will be sworn in Dec. 3. Both played key roles in the campaign of Mr. Ecker, a former deputy county school superintendent.

Mr. Rifkin, a Democrat who was a member of Gov. William Donald Schaefer's transition team four years ago, will head a committee that will evaluate the offices of county executive, county administrator, county solicitor, finance, personnel, budget,economic development, information services and the General Services Department.

The Economic Forum was formed in April 1987 by officials representing the local chamber of commerce, real estate interests, the Howard County Farm Bureau and the local homebuilders chapter. It was expanded to include the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and an alliance advocating more low- and moderate-income housing, as well as a local chapter of industrial park contractors.

The county executive-elect, a Republican who narrowly won election in his first run for political office, said other members of the transition team are still being chosen. Ms. Wilhide will start up the transition team in the county office building in Ellicott City later this week, he said.

"I did not look to see if they were on the Forum or not," said Mr. Ecker, when asked why he had named three of the group's members to key posts.

Mr. Ecker said more members will be added who have "a broad-based point of view," including members of civic organizations such as the Coalition of Citizen Associations, the Howard County Citizens Association and Citizens for Responsible Growth and the NAACP.

The county executive-elect also has named Harry "Chip" Lundy, a homebuilder and major contributor to his campaign, to oversee a land-use and management subcommittee, which will make recommendationson the departments of planning and zoning, licenses and permits, public works and the transportation office.

Mr. Ecker said he would not rule out the possibility that he may appoint some transition team members to county positions. He will have subcommittees recommend whether he should retain or dismiss department heads.

But he said a separate panel will help him select replacements, and that potential applicants who serve on his transition team will not participate in that selection process.

Others named to the transition team include Roger Caplan, president of a public relations and advertising firm, and Jan Chastant, a county teacher and former Parent-Teacher Association Council president who helped manage the Ecker campaign. Both received $2,000 from the Ecker campaign for their services during the election.

Mr. Caplan will head a subcommittee concentrating on public information and cable television services, and Ms. Chastant will head the parks and recreation subcommittee. Louise Riemer, a former chairwoman of the Harpers Choice Village Board in Columbia and civic activist, will oversee the transition team's human services subcommittee.

Mr. Ecker said that except for Planning Director Uri P. Avin, who will not be reappointed, he will "not make changes overnight" among the ranks of appointed officials.

"If there will be changes, they will be gradual," he said.

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