Md. engineer named Balto. Co. highway chief He'll take job April 1, replacing retiring director

February 02, 1996|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,SUN STAFF

Baltimore County has plucked another veteran Maryland highway official from state service to bolster its own public works operation.

Charles R. "Dick" Harrison, a 32-year state highway veteran who is in charge of most of the Baltimore Beltway, will become the county highway chief April 1, said Charles R. "Bob" Olsen, director of public works.

The county hired Mr. Olsen away from a state highway job last year.

Mr. Harrison, 50, will replace C. Richard Moore, a 31-year county employee who is taking an early retirement incentive offered by the Ruppersberger administration to trim the county payroll.

Mr. Moore will depart Feb. 29 with more than 100 other veteran county workers, including his deputy, Richard Cox, and roughly a dozen other highway superintendents and crew chiefs who are expected to retire, county officials said.

Despite the number of departures, Mr. Olsen said the county will be able to handle any late-season snowstorms. Although the early retirement program was intended to induce retirements by employees the county would not have to replace, Mr. Olsen said hiring Mr. Harrison to fill Mr. Moore's job will save money.

"We'll have fewer supervisory positions," he said, noting that he plans to reorganize his department and cut the number of supervisors from 43 to 38. In addition, he said Mr. Harrison, who will have a state pension, will make $60,000 a year in county pay compared with Mr. Moore's $76,055 salary.

The new highway chief also will supervise the county heavy equipment maintenance garage, which is now a separate operation under the budget office.

Mr. Olsen said he cannot complete his permanent reorganization plan until it is clear who is taking early retirement. Employees have until Feb. 23 to decide. He said he will name acting bureau chiefs and supervisors until Mr. Harrison can become involved in the personnel decisions.

Mr. Harrison has been state highway district engineer for Baltimore and Harford counties since 1990. Earlier, he held a variety of state highway jobs, including traffic engineer in Annapolis, construction inspector and maintenance engineer.

State highway crews got high marks for keeping major roads clear during the recent blizzard, but Mr. Harrison said that is an easier task than scraping the narrower roads and residential streets that make up much of Baltimore County's 2,500 miles of roads. State highways have more space on the shoulders where snow can be pushed, he said.

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