Search ends at home Realtors: A key adviser to the City Council president is named executive vice president for the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors.

October 14, 1997|By Robert Nusgart | Robert Nusgart,SUN STAFF Sun staff writer Robert Guy Matthews contributed to this article.

Joseph T. "Jody" Landers III, a key adviser and director for fiscal affairs for Baltimore City Council President Lawrence A. Bell III, was named yesterday as the new executive vice president for the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors.

Landers' appointment came after a six-month nationwide search in which more than 100 candidates were reviewed. He will be responsible for the day-to-day operations and overall administration of the GBBR beginning Nov. 10.

"One of the first tasks that I set for myself is to meet with all the leadership and the officers on the board and then to meet with the staff members here and kind of hone in on what are the key issues that need to be addressed," he said yesterday from the new GBBR offices in Lutherville.

The naming of Landers, 44, ends a process that began in April when former Executive Vice President Christine A. Vasiliou was ousted after firing several GBBR staff members. After investigating, the board's executive committee rehired the staff members and asked Vasiliou to resign.

That episode played a key part in the search committee's choice of Landers as the trade organization's new executive leader, according to the organization's officials.

"He had very good management skills, and the references were outstanding not only from the people he worked for, but for people who worked for him," said Michael Yerman, who headed the GBBR's search committee.

"We have had some really good executive vice presidents," Yerman added. "And the goal was to get someone to lead us into the 21st century. We wanted to be careful that we picked the right person.

"He has the history and a background of being a consensus builder. He has all the essentials to do the job. He emerged as the clear-cut victor."

Landers, who lives in the Lauraville section of northeast Baltimore, said the interview process was one of the "most rigorous" that he had ever encountered.

"My sense is they had a pretty clear idea of the skill level, the experience level that they wanted to have and the management style as well," Landers said.

Landers' background is a blend of political and nonprofit leadership positions which the GBBR hopes will raise the organization's profile.

A former two-term 3rd District city councilman, Landers vacated his seat in 1991 to run for city comptroller. He lost the Democratic primary to former 2nd District Councilwoman Jacqueline F. McLean.

Bell asked him to return to City Hall in 1995 after four years as executive director of Parents and Children Together, a nonprofit organization that provides therapy to infants and toddlers with developmental delays.

Council members said Landers brought a cool head and solid ideas in dealings with the council.

"Jody has been the brains behind the office, from budget issues to the Board of Estimates," said 4th District Councilwoman Sheila Dixon.

Landers, who worked as a part-time real estate agent from 1983 to 1993, also held executive directorships in the early 1980s at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Maryland and at the HARBEL Community Organization.

One of the main concerns for the GBBR is its dwindling membership, a result of a loosening of rules requiring membership on the board. GBBR membership hovers around 3,000, down from more than 5,000 in the late 1980s.

"All those statistics indicate that the board, like many other organizations, finds itself in a very competitive environment," Landers said. "And to that end, looking at the organization as a service organization, we've got to make a strong statement and really orient our programs to serving the needs of our members.

"The better we can refine the product, in terms of addressing the needs of the members, the more likely we are to arrest or reverse those trends.

"We really want to focus in on realistic, practical ways that we can improve services to members and raise the profile of the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors, not just within the industry, but within the general public's eye as well."

Pub Date: 10/14/97

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