Walter Chitwood, one of County Executive Robert R. Neall's top aides, was named head of the Office of Finance yesterday.
Chitwood, whohas worked for the county since 1974, returns to the office he led from 1983 to 1986. He will replace Joseph Burrows, county controller since 1987, who resigned last week.
Chitwood's appointment takes effect May 1. As controller, he willsupervise all county expenditures, collection of taxes, accounting and investments.
Chitwood has served as one of the executive's two top assistants for the past 15 months, since the beginning of the Neall administration. Neall had promoted him from assistant central services officer, a position he held from 1987 to 1991 under former executive O. James Lighthizer.
In January, Neall entrusted Chitwood with one of his highest-priority projects, a new 650-bed detention center to be built in Glen Burnie. At public hearings before the County Council and before hundreds of angry North County residents, it was Chitwood's job to defend the project.
County and state lawmakers killed the jail proposal last month.
"I don't think that was Walter," said Neall spokeswoman Louise Hayman. "I think Bobby underestimated the stink it was going to cause." Chitwood also has served as Neall's liaison to the city of Annapolis.
Though Neall thinks Burrows is "a very good controller, the fact that he's departing gives Bobby an opportunity to put somebody in with a style that's more close to Bobby's," Hayman said.
A U.S. Army and Vietnam War veteran, Chitwood is, like Neall, a Republican known for his attention to detail.
An Annapolis resident, Chitwood, 44, was hired in 1974 as an assistant toformer County Executive Robert A. Pascal, a post he held until 1983.He served as controller from 1983 to 1986, then as assistant centralservices officer from 1987 to 1991.
As controller, Chitwood oversaw the refinancing of $36.8 million in debt, the first time the county had ever refinanced at a lower interest rate.
His resume also includes experience with the Frederick County government and the state Senate Budget and Taxation Committee.