Ruppersberger picks Kirchner, Staab as top aides

November 18, 1994|By Glenn Small | Glenn Small,Sun Staff Writer Sun Staff Writer Pat Gilbert contributed to this article.

Like the new manager of a baseball team, Baltimore County Executive-elect Charles A. Dutch Ruppersberger III announced yesterday his starting lineup for when he takes office next month.

"We're bringing in my team to help me run the government for the next four years," said Mr. Ruppersberger, a Democratic councilman from northern Baltimore County who defeated incumbent Republican Roger B. Hayden in last week's general election.

To begin with, Mr. Ruppersberger notified many on the Hayden executive staff that they will no longer be needed when he takes office Dec. 5. He said his executive staff will be smaller and less costly than Mr. Hayden's.

He said his office will be structured around two new positions -- a chief of operating policy to work on nonfiscal issues such as managing departments and community issues, and a chief financial officer to help him understand and manage the county's finances. Each position will pay $80,000 a year. The new positions are to be on a level equal with that of the county administrative officer, who has the responsibility for day-to-day operation of the county.

Robert Staab, a former member of the House of Delegates from Dundalk who ran the county Department of Recreation and Parks from 1986 through 1990, was named the chief of operating policy.

Mr. Staab, now head of Harford County's Department of Recreation and Parks, is someone whom Mr. Ruppersberger got to know while working on the County Council. He begins work Jan. 2.

"He's a very strong manager, very dedicated to Baltimore County," said Mr. Ruppersberger.

Designated as chief financial officer was Stephen Kirchner, who has been the county auditor for five years. He'll begin work Dec. 5, the day Mr. Ruppersberger is sworn into office.

County Administrative Officer Merreen E. Kelly will remain in place, as required by the County Charter, which says the administrative officer's term overlaps that of the county executive by six months.

Mr. Kelly said last night that Mr. Ruppersberger formally had asked him to stay on for those six months and "I told him yes."

He said that what happens afterward will be up to Mr. Ruppersberger.

Having the two new positions on an equal level with his office will not take away from his functions, Mr. Kelly said.

Also yesterday, Mr. Ruppersberger announced the appointment of a fiscal watchdog over the county Board of Education, fulfilling a campaign promise. The appointee will be Robin Churchill, now an employee in the county auditor's office. Her salary will be $60,000.

"We want to make sure the money is going into the classroom and is being appropriately spent," the executive-elect said.

Many of the political appointees working for Mr. Hayden have lost their jobs, including Mr. Hayden's executive secretary, Marina Brockman, and executive assistants Nicholas C. Spinnato, Lea A. Petr, Louis F. Waidner and George Abendschoen.

Rounding out Mr. Ruppersberger's new appointments are Jennifer Macek, his council aide for nine years who will be his chief of staff at a salary of $58,000 a year; and Robert Barrett, his campaign manager, who will be an assistant in his office at $58,000 a year.

Mr. Ruppersberger said he will hire an executive secretary, but otherwise will not fill all the political positions his predecessor had. Instead, he said, he will move such jobs into county departments to "decentralize" the executive's staff.

While saying his executive staff will be smaller and less costly that Mr. Hayden's, he did not have specific numbers on how much money the county will save.

Mr. Ruppersberger earlier had said he would not name any department heads until after the first of the year and would be evaluating each department toward possible changes in structure.

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