Neall asks two to resign Chiefs of Utilities, Public Works lose jobs to merger

January 12, 1993|By John Rivera and John A. Morris | John Rivera and John A. Morris,Staff Writers

The directors of Anne Arundel County's Public Works and Utilities departments have been asked to resign as part of a reorganization and consolidation of county government.

County Executive Robert R. Neall last week asked Parker Andrews, director of public works, and Thomas Neel, director of utilities, to leave their positions by Feb. 1.

"I have been asked to resign," Mr. Neel said yesterday at his office in the Heritage Center on Riva Road. "I don't want to say anything else right now."

Mr. Andrews could not be reached for comment, but administration sources said he met privately last week with Mr. Neall.

Both Mr. Andrews, who has worked for the county for nearly 30 years, and Mr. Neel, who has been utilities director for 10 years, are eligible for retirement and are expected to exercise that option.

Jerome W. Klasmeier, currently the director of central services, confirmed that he was asked by Mr. Neall on Friday to head a consolidated department that apparently would absorb Public Works and Utilities. He said he has not accepted the position.

"I've had a preliminary discussion with Bob [Neall] to see if I would be interested in doing that," Mr. Klasmeier said. "I want to find out a little bit more of what they would expect of me."

Mr. Klasmeier said he has not seen the plan for the consolidation, and did not know if he would continue his duties as central services director if he accepted the new post.

Mr. Neel, who makes $95,522 annually, directs the county's sewage treatment and public water systems. He often is credited with cleaning up a department once plagued by frequent sewage spills and customer complaints.

Last spring, County Executive Neall called Mr. Neel his "best trouble-shooter" and asked him to take over the troubled Millersville Landfill and the county's other garbage facilities.

Mr. Andrews, who earns $84,558 annually, started with the county Sanitary Commission in 1963.

He worked his way up through the administrative ranks to become head of the department that builds and maintains county roads, manages construction projects and oversees mosquito control in 1988.

Mr. Andrews oversaw the transition in the late 1960s from private trash dumps to public landfills, and in the early 1970s guided construction of the Millersville facility.

The consolidation of Mr. Neel's and Mr. Andrews' departments is part of Mr. Neall's response to the recently approved property tax cap and cuts in state funding.

"With the tax cap and the fact that our revenue stream is going to suffer by $150 million over the next seven years, it just necessitated that we take some rather significant action now," said Louise Hayman, a spokeswoman for Mr. Neall.

"So what we're looking at is permanent, structural reorganization, not just make-do cuts to get us through this year or next year."

Ms. Hayman said the consolidation of these particular departments did not reflect on the quality of administration or the administrators.

"[The departments] have similar missions and customer service functions, and they seemed to be a good candidate for consolidation," she said.

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