Erin Peacock, a Columbia resident for 21 years, has been hired by the Oakland Mills village board as the new village manager.
"This seems like the perfect job for me," Mrs. Peacock said. "It's a good marriage of my community-oriented interests and my administrative background."
She replaces Susan Schmugge, the village manager for the past 10 years, who resigned to move to France with her husband.
Jim Oremland, chairman of the Oakland Mills village board, said Mrs. Peacock was the unanimous choice of the board. She was among 24 applicants for the job.
The board was impressed with Mrs. Peacock's ability to organize many tasks and her experience coordinating work among staff employees and volunteers, said Mr. Oremland.
"Erin also has a great ability to react to questions out of left field. As the village manager you are dealing with that sort of thing all the time. We wanted someone who could handle that thoughtfully," said Mr. Oremland.
Mrs. Peacock assumed her duties at the village center Dec. 9.
One of her first big duties will be to organize village board elections this spring. Columbia's village managers -- there are nine of them -- report to the board of each village. Their primary duties include managing budget expenditures for the board, managing village-sponsored programs and assisting village residents with their community needs.
"One of the board's most important duties is filling the village manager's post with a strong person for the job," said Mr. Oremland. "The board will turn over as elections come and go, but the village manager may stay 10 years."
The board was also impressed with Mrs. Peacock's administrative and planning background.
Before accepting the village manager post, Mrs. Peacock worked for eight years as the business administrator of St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Congregation, a parish with 2,700 families that conducts services at two sites in Columbia.
Mrs. Peacock's main duties in that post involved managing the budget and the congregation's staff, and serving as a liaison with the Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore, she said.
Prior to joining St. John's Mrs. Peacock worked as a planner for the Montgomery County Planning Board between 1977 and 1985.
She has a bachelor's degree in speech pathology from the Catholic University in Washington and a master's of administrative science degree from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
A resident of Columbia for 21 years, Mrs. Peacock lives in the Village of Owen Brown.
She has been active in several civic groups, including Grassroots, a Howard County-based nonprofit organization that operates an emergency shelter. She is also a founding member of Columbia Community Players, a theater group.