Barbara Gradet, director of the Baltimore County Department of Aging, had never met new County Executive Roger B. Hayden until Friday when he fired her.
Gradet, who in 11 years worked her way up to the top position in the department, said she was given no reason for her firing and was merely told she has one month to depart. She said Hayden told her he had no particular person in mind to replace her.
Hayden, who was to formally take office today, handed down several firings and demotions in closed meetings Friday, according to several other fired bureaucrats.
The firings came as a complete surprise to those involved, since Hayden has been saying publicly that he would not summarily fire outgoing-Executive Dennis F. Rasmussen's appointees, but would make gradual changes, mostly through attrition.
Hayden refused to comment on the personnel actions.
Sources said that Hayden either fired or eliminated the positions of deputy administrative officers Stanley Guild Jr. and Timothy Fagan; Gradet; Leslie Pittler, director of community development; environmental director Robert Sheesley, and Timothy Harrison, director of central services.
County Attorney Arnold E. Jablon, who worked with Hayden on school issues in the past, is to remain as a deputy county attorney, according to two sources. Jablon himself refused comment on his meeting with Hayden.
Recreation and Parks Director Robert R. Staab said he was told to expect a second meeting this week, but was not fired.
Hayden also cut Rasmussen's executive office staff, firing aides Judith Sussman, Ken D. Dryden and Joseph Adler, and he put Robert Nealy, head of the county Office of Fair Practices and the only black staff member, on notice for a second meeting.
Sussman, who has worked for the county since the late 1970s, quit immediately.
Hayden said during the campaign that he planned to eliminate Fagan's and Guild's positions. Both Fagan, a 27-year county employee, and Guild, the former budget director with over 30 years in county government, will retire.
Guild has not been at work since the spring, recuperating from injuries received in an auto accident.
In an unrelated development, newly elected Councilman Douglas Riley, R-4th, revealed that the three new Republican council members and Democrat Donald Mason, D-7th, have formed an alliance intended to influence spending and taxing issues.
Riley also said that the group may seek to install him as council chairman in January. He said there is no firm agreement as of yet because there is some thought of keeping current chairman Charles A. "Dutch" Ruppersberger, D-3rd, in the post because of his experience.