Patmore, Again, Will Lead Public Works Department

February 27, 1991|By Paul Shread | Paul Shread,Staff writer

John E.C. Patmore will be the new Annapolis public works director, ajob he was asked to resign eight years ago.

The City Council voted, 7-1 with one abstention, to confirm Mayor Alfred A. Hopkins' appointment. Patmore will be paid $68,965 a year, about $1,000 more than he was earning as an engineer for Dewberry & Davis, an Annapolis engineering firm. He starts Monday.

The council met privately for 30 minutes Monday night to discuss Patmore's appointment, then voted in open session.

Alderman John R. Hammond, R-Ward 1, said he voted against Patmore because he wanted a more rigorous selection process, like the one used to hire Police Chief Harold Robbins last year. After a nationwide search, Robbins wasinterviewed and tested along with several other finalists.

"If heis qualified, and I have every reason to believe he is, he hasn't had the benefit of having gone through that process," Hammond said.

Of 36 applicants for the public works job, Hopkins interviewed only Patmore. "I reviewed all the applications, and no one came close to his qualifications," Hopkins said. He said the job search was the most thorough he had seen for a public works director.

Alderman Carl O.Snowden, D-Ward 5, said he abstained because he lacked information about a reported investigation into alleged purchasing improprieties in the department at the time of Patmore's resignation in July 1983. Former Mayor Richard Hillman had asked Patmore to resign.

The investigation was reported in the Annapolis Capital the day after Patmore's resignation was announced.

Patmore said the Capital article was the first he had heard about the investigation and said he went on administrative leave before he had a chance to look into the allegations.

Hopkins said he spoke with former City Attorney Frederick Sussman, who told him he knew of no investigation into purchasing improprieties.

The public works employees union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council No. 67 in Baltimore, had lobbied heavily against Patmore's appointment, citing alarge number of grievances under Patmore's leadership. The union also said Patmore's department bought a refuse truck that didn't work on the city'snarrow streets.

But Hopkins and Patmore said differences between the public works director and Hillman were personal. After Monday night's closed-door meeting, Hammond said he was satisfied the differences were personal.

Patmore, who was public works director from 1980-1983, said he was pleased by the vote and was looking forward to returning to his old job. Patmore also managed Anne Arundel County's utility operations from 1975-1980.

In other action Monday night, the City Council went on record opposing a growth-control bill proposed by the state 20/20 Commission. City officials believe the legislation would focus growth on the city's outskirts, in places like Parole.

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