Despite anger and bitterness over his election loss, Baltimore County Executive Roger B. Hayden says he will cooperate in the transition to Charles A. Dutch Ruppersberger III's new administration.
Mr. Hayden said he has not spoken with Mr. Ruppersberger, saying it's "too early" to make specific transition plans. "We're going to obviously do what's best for the people of Baltimore County," he said.
Meanwhile, the executive-elect said yesterday that he is in a unique position to plan a smooth transition, with or without Mr. Hayden's cooperation.
"I've been here nine years," the Cockeysville councilman said. "I really know as much as he does."
Mr. Ruppersberger doesn't need a transition office, since he still occupies his council offices and has access to county officials and information. Until Tuesday, only one council member -- Dale Anderson -- had ever been elected executive.
Other than announcing his own staff appointments next week, Mr. Ruppersberger said, he plans no quick, dramatic moves before taking office Dec. 5.
"I will want to analyze every department head" before deciding on changes, which probably would not begin until after Jan. 1, he said. "I'm going to try to handle people with dignity."
The statement was a reference to sudden firings that Mr. Hayden ordered as he took office four years ago.
The Democrat said he hopes for a cooperative change of power with Mr. Hayden. "I helped Roger in his transition when he came in," Mr. Ruppersberger said, recalling the tumult after the 1990 election.
He said he has "no plans" to ask County Administrative Officer Merreen E. Kelly to step down before his term of office expires in June 1995. He left open the possibility that Mr. Kelly could continue beyond that. The administrative officer is the top appointed official who runs the government on a day-to-day basis.
Also, P. David Fields, the former planning director assigned by Mr. Hayden to work on a study on ways to preserve older neighborhoods, "will have an active and important position," Mr. Ruppersberger said. He stressed that he also is committed to preserving older communities.
He plans to be active in meeting with residents but will not continue Mr. Hayden's "Face to Face" sessions as they now operate.
"I'll do it my way," he said. "I'll be out a lot more. I'll be coming more to them."
Mr. Hayden prided himself for being accessible during his monthly first-come-first-served sessions, and for going to more than 1,300 community meetings in four years.
Mr. Ruppersberger said he wants to use his abilities as a friendly, outgoing consensus builder to build bridges to the County Council's five new members, and especially to the county's reshuffled General Assembly delegation and to legislative leaders in Annapolis. Those ties are the keys to getting more school construction money and other tax funds returned to the county, he said. The 21-member House delegation will have 14 new members and the seven-member Senate delegation two.
With five Democrats among the seven councilmen, Mr. Ruppersberger should have a friendly forum there -- especially since Towson Republican Douglas B. Riley has been a main ally in the last four years.
Mr. Riley praised Mr. Ruppersberger as "one of the best legislators I've ever seen." However, it remains to be seen whether that talent will translate into the decision-making ability an executive needs, he said.
At the least, Mr. Riley said, Mr. Ruppersberger always surrounds himself with "competent people. He's very much up to the job."
Mr. Ruppersberger said he has a special interest in working with his successor on the council, T. Bryan McIntire, who won election in the north county district the executive-elect represented for nine years.
"I look forward to helping him," he said. "I see no problems with the council."
Mr. Hayden made his promise on transition with Mr. Ruppersberger at a news conference Wednesday afternoon, when he finally conceded defeat. He had refused to do it election night, despite trailing by almost 18,000 votes when all precincts were counted.
Asked about his plans, he said, "I'm going to get a job."
The executive spent most of the conference expressing bitterness over what he said was a Democratic campaign that misled the public and illegal campaign literature he said was given out by Ruppersberger volunteers. He also said an "abysmal" performance by the media contributed to his loss.
He said efforts to tell voters about accomplishments in building and repairing schools, adding computers to classrooms and restructuring government were ignored, while Mr. Ruppersberger was allowed to imply that he would raise workers' pay and add more police when there won't be enough revenue.
Mr. Hayden charged that reporters failed to expose illegal literature that accused him of wife-beating and sexual harassment, although he did not blame that for his loss. He had not complained about the literature before Wednesday.
Mr. Ruppersberger denied any knowledge of such literature and said he had refused during the campaign to "get into [Mr. Hayden's] personal life."