The lobby of Harford County government office building is adorned with a large portrait of the home-grown Cal Ripkens, senior and junior, looking like royalty in their chalk-white Oriole double-knits. But the real pride in county chambers these days is illustrated by the lobby's other promotional display -- Harford's "fast track" program.
"Fast track," a loosely defined but apparently effective method of cutting red tape for developments deemed most desirable, is a major reason Harford has been landing some of the economic coups in the region lately.
Clorox bleach and Frito-Lay snacks are putting up manufacturing plants in the Aberdeen area that will employ a total of 400 people to start, possibly 1,000 later. MCI Communications Corp. recently announced an $150 million expansion of its facility in Perryman. Pier 1 imports, Merry-Go-Round Enterprises Inc., The Gap Inc. and General Electric Co. also built major projects in Harford. All of them got "fast track" handling, basically a commitment from County Executive Eileen M. Rehrmann that her departments will give those projects priority to cut the permit review red tape from a year to maybe a month.