Baltimore County Executive C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger III told a group of black ministers Friday that he is "aggressively seeking an African-American" to head a county department.
Mr. Ruppersberger also told the Baltimore County West Ministerial Alliance that he plans to announce today the hiring of a black to work under former planning director P. David Fields, who is developing a conservation plan for older county communities.
The new worker will cover the county's Westside, where the bulk of the fast-growing black population lives.
Mr. Fields now supervises one community worker who covers the county's Eastside and three people borrowed from the Economic Development Commission. A new part-time worker to cover the southwest county is expected to be named soon.
After the 90-minute meeting in Mr. Ruppersberger's offices in Towson, the executive said he could not promise that he will have a black department head, but said that is his "preference" and "desire."
Mr. Ruppersberger has yet to choose permanent directors for the fire, health, public works, community development and personnel departments and the Economic Development Commission.
The only black to head a county government department was James L. Allen, who was appointed personnel director by then-Executive Donald P. Hutchinson after the U.S. Department of Justice sued the county for discrimination in hiring in 1978.
Mr. Allen resigned in 1989.
The ministerial alliance, mostly representing churches in Randallstown and Woodlawn, is led by the Rev. Charles T. Sembly, pastor of the Union Bethel AME Church in Randallstown.
The group endorsed former County Councilman Melvin G. Mintz for executive in the Democratic primary over Mr. Ruppersberger.
The alliance includes one Eastside member, the Rev. Isaiah Hill, pastor of First Baptist Church in the 1600 block of Hopewell Ave. in Essex.