New town manager knows Crofton well Swann has seen community change WEST COUNTY -- Crofton * Odenton * Fort Meade * Gambrills

June 15, 1993|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Staff Writer

Barbara Swann moved to Crofton in 1969, seeking a "good environment" for her four children.

When she bought her home in an area dubbed New Crofton, the entire community had only 1,000 homes.

Nearly a quarter-century later, Ms. Swann still lives in the same place, but the number of surrounding homes has nearly tripled, crowding Crofton to the point where new developments are nearly impossible.

Last week, Ms. Swann, who has worked for Crofton for 23 years -- most recently as comptroller -- was the unanimous choice to become the new town manager.

She was chosen over three other candidates after private interviews in front of the board of directors. Her salary has not yet been fixed, but the previous town manager earned about $38,000 a year.

Edwin F. Dosek, president of the Crofton Civic Association, said Ms. Swann has served as an interim town manager, whenever there was a vacancy, for several years. "She has been able to observe many town managers and their different styles," he said.

Mr. Dosek said there was some thought about just appointing Ms. Swann to the postion, "but that wouldn't have been fair to anyone else."

Ms. Swann replaces former Town Manager Jordan L. Harding, who resigned in March after a somewhat strained relationship with the board. He complained about board members second-guessing him on decisions and some members accused him of setting policy.

"There were some problems with the previous town manager's management style," said board member Cathy Trebelhorn. "I feel confident with Barbara. We know her."

Ms. Swann said her long experience qualifies her to run the community, which has a five-member police force, a psychological counselor and a handful of other full- and part-time employees. This year's town budget is about $550,000.

"I have knowledge of this board and the board has knowledge about me," Ms. Swann said. "I have the respect of the employees. I don't have to earn that. I've got it."

The other three candidates were James B. Golden, the former campaign manager for County Council Chairman David G. Boschert; Gordon D. Hubley, an employee of a Laurel real estate office who worked on economic development in Prince George's County; and Michael D. McCormick, the former executive director of the Maryland Petroleum Council, a lobbying group for the oil industry.

Each of the candidates spent 20 minutes before the board, answering prepared questions from the three-member search committee that had spent weeks narrowing a field of 86 candidates.

But Ms. Trebelhorn said sentiment on the board ran with Ms. Swann. "I think most people felt as I did -- she was the clear choice," she said.

When Ms. Swann first moved to Crofton, the security gates and guard shacks had just been removed from around what had been a private community content inside the borders of Routes 424, 450 and 3.

But development outside "The Triangle" has prompted the community to reach beyond its borders. Town leaders are studying whether to incorporate into a city or town and are looking at traffic problems on Route 3.

Mr. Harding, a former seven-term mayor of New Carrollton, brought community outreach to a new level in Crofton and used his contacts with state and local officials to bring new services to the community.

Ms. Swann said she will arrange meetings in the next several weeks with county officials. Crofton officials also will have to hire a new comptroller.

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