After misfiring on his first candidate for county administrator, Howard County Executive Charles I. Ecker plans to name Raquel Sanudo, executive director of the Maryland Association of Counties, to the $75,000-a-year post.
Mr. Ecker generated considerable controversy with his first choice, homebuilder John Mardall. Community leaders questioned the wisdom of hiring a developer with no experience in government.
Mr. Mardall quickly withdrew from consideration, saying that his homebuilding firm had two pending agreements with the county that could be regarded as a conflict of interest.
Ms. Sanudo, 48, a Democrat, worked as an aide to former County Executive J. Hugh Nichols from 1979 to 1985. Mr. Nichols was elected to two terms as a Democrat but switched to Republican in his last year.
Mr. Ecker also switched from Democrat to Republican before he ran for office.
Ms. Sanudo of Ellicott City was executive director of the Howard County Chamber of Commerce before joining Mr. Nichols' staff. She is a graduate from the University of Maryland with a bachelor's degree in business.
At the Maryland Association of Counties, she has worked with the state's 24 subdivisions in drafting statewide legislation and pooling resources to get cheaper insurance and health benefits.
Mr. Ecker plans to announce the appointment Monday. He said he was looking for a candidate who "could walk across Lake Kittamaqundi in downtown Columbia without getting wet" after his experience with Mr. Mardall.