Bobo Appointees Say They're Willing To Work For Ecker

November 18, 1990|By James M. Coram | James M. Coram,Staff writer

Most of the department heads and other appointees of County Executive M.

Elizabeth Bobo said this week they consider themselves career bureaucrats who would serve in the administration of executive-elect Charles I. Ecker if invited.

Ecker will begin interviewing the 41 appointees next week. He reiterated Thursday that he does not expect to make wholesale changes in the administration, and that the changes he does make will be gradual.

Indeed, he has said publicly that the only Bobo appointee sure to lose his job is planning director Uri Avin. The two have not talked yet, Ecker said, and no date has been set for Avin's departure. Ecker will be sworn in Dec. 3.

Avin had aroused the ire of several developers for the way he implemented Bobo's slow-growth initiatives and his office had been hit by citizens groups with freedom of information requests for information Ecker says he thought routine.

Many of the Bobo appointees have been in county government here for more than a decade and rose through the ranks to appointed positions.

County Administrator Buddy Roogow, who is acting as liaison with Ecker's eight-member "unity" team charged with smoothing the transition to the new administration, is just such a person.

Roogow had worked in the last administration as a special assistant to the former public works director. Bobo elevated Roogow first to deputy county administrator and then to county administrator, the county's top appointed position.

"I think all department heads, because of their interest and concern about the county, want to assure that good and positive government for the citizens of Howard County continue," Roogow said. "I'm sure many of them want to continue in that regard" with the new administration.

As for himself, Roogow says that while he "enjoys his job," he believes he should discuss it with Ecker before making statements to anyone else.

Several appointees, including Richard Shaw, a career firefighter whom Bobo appointed fire administrator, and Jeffrey Bourne, a longtime Parks and Recreation employee Bobo elevated to department head status, took the Roogow route.

Shaw declined any comment until after he meets with Ecker, while Bourne, who has been a Parks and Recreation Department employee since 1975, said that "obviously, the career nature of any postion tends to make you want to see through to completion the things you have begun."

Other department heads said without hesitation that they would serve in the new administration if asked.

"Absolutely," said Police Chief Frederick Chaney, whom Bobo lured from Montgomery County.

"Yes," said Public Works director Jim Irvin, a 15-year veteran of the county government.

Finance director Ray Servary Jr., who joined county government in 1966 as an accountant, said his job is "professional, not political."

"I'm not a threat to (Ecker) or anyone who is an elected official," he said.

Personnel director Janet Haddad, who served in that role prior to being reappointed by Bobo, seemed to be speaking for many when she said that as a professional dedicated to making a career in Howard County government, she welcomed the opportunity to talk with Ecker about continuing employment here.

Even newcomers, like press officer William Toohey, who has been on the job only since Oct. 1, say they would like to stay on if possible. "Sure," he said, when asked. "I'm here because I like government."

Maggie Brown, administrative assistant to Buddy Roogow, not only said she "certainly would" stay on if asked, but offered reasons why she should --her knowledge of the whole range of county government, and her work on union negotiations and the budget.

Two who will not be seeking to remain with Ecker are Bobo administrative assistant Grace Kubofcik and county detention center director Gerald H.


McClellan, who came to the county in 1975, is retiring Dec. 28.

Although the Ecker transition team indicated it would not rule out keeping Bobo's administrative aides, Kubofcik said, "It is not my desire" to serve in the next administration.

For positions like hers, Kubofcik said, Ecker should have people in whom he has trust and confidence.

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