Outgoing Anne Arundel County Executive O. James Lighthizer had some advice for his successor, Robert R. Neall, who begins work today.
"Play fair, put things back where you find them, don't take what's not yours, always remember to flush, be nice to others -- and don't screw it up," Lighthizer, a Democrat, told Republican Neall yesterday.
Lighthizer also gave Neall a copy of the bestseller, "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten," from which he said he got his advice.
Then, before about 400 supporters in an auditorium at Anne Arundel Community College, Neall took the oath of office.
"I stand before you with pride, humility, a lot of gratitude, anticipation, anxiety and terror," Neall said in a brief inaugural address. "We have a big job to do. Caring and compassion will be our corporate mission."
"I am acutely aware that I am the winner of a close election," Neall said of the campaign that won him 51 percent of the vote. "I hope to assure those who voted for me that I am the right man for the job."
Neall also talked about the challenges his administration will face. "I want to put together the most aggressive economic development plan in the state to build a recession-proof economy," he said.
Other priorities he mentioned were education, drug education and treatment, the environment and the slowing of growth. Neall declared that this month would be dedicated to raising the amount of charitable contributions in the county, which he said have dropped off recently.
"I will be asking everyone I see and everyone I talk to to pitch in," Neall said.
Neall, 42, is a former minority leader in the House of Delegates and was Gov. William Donald Schaefer's drug czar.
Schaefer, former Rep. Marjorie Holt, R-4th, and Neall's former political opponent, Rep. Tom McMillen, D-4th, attended the swearing-in.
Today, Roger B. Hayden in Baltimore County, Eileen M. Rehrmann in Harford County and Charles I. Ecker in Howard County were assuming their duties as county executives after swearing-in ceremonies.
After their swearing in today, the three Carroll County Commissioners were expected to choose officers among themselves. Julia Gouge, a Republican and the only returning incumbent, said she expected to be secretary. She said that Elmer Lippy, a Democrat and former mayor of Manchester, would be vice president and that Donald Dell, a Republican and the highest vote-getter, would be president. The three commissioners are equal in their powers, but the president presides over meetings.