After county Executive Charles I. Ecker announced thisinformation administrator, he was asked why he needs a press officer.
"I don't,"Ecker replied. "I'm my press officer."
What Kenneth Charles Mays, 42, will be doing, Ecker said, is something else entirely. "He will promote the county, not Chuck Ecker," and will "play a key role in redirecting the mission of the public information office."
Trained as a writer and graphic designer, Mays said that mission will be to "communicate on a regular basis with every citizen in the county."
In addition to doing the "basic things,"like providing directories of county services, Mays says he hopes tofind a way to communicate on a regular basis those things the publicneeds to know about county government.
Ideally, Mays said, a county magazine would be sent to every household and supplemented by cable TV.
Due to budget constraints, the magazine is not possible now,Mays said, but he plans to move forward on the cable front.
The only limitation, he said, is that not every household has cable.
Although he has been on the job only two days, Mays said he is putting together a list of resources he wants to provide every branch of county government, including the County Council.
"I want to change theperception that the public information is here to do public relations for the executive," he said.
"I don't want that and Chuck doesn't want that."
Mays, who will be paid $59,935 a year, owns an advertising agency with his wife.
During the campaign, he created and executed a series of hard-hitting, full-page, newspaper ads for Ecker.
When asked why he would leave his advertising practice to head upthe public relations department, the soft-spoken Mays told of his love of the county.
"I've lived in Howard County 20 years," he said."Came here right out of college. I was thinking about going to Australia on a special program, but I took a reporting job with the old Howard County Times and the Columbia Times.
"I've had a good life here. Although I've worked elsewhere as a reporter and editor, I didn't establish a residence elsewhere. I stayed and watched (the county) grow."
As he did, he became involved in community work.
"I've always been committed to that," he said. "And this job gives me an opportunity to really work in the community and in community service."