Annapolis' No. 2 official resigns after eight months 'It's time to move on,' city administrator says

September 12, 1998|By Dan Thanh Dang | Dan Thanh Dang,SUN STAFF

Eight months after an intensive, nationwide search selected him as Annapolis' second in command, Walter N. Chitwood III has resigned.

The city's top administrator, who was in charge of daily operations, Chitwood noted family obligations and a job opportunity in the private sector for his decision -- but also said that "some of the magic is gone."

Chitwood gave notice Wednesday that he intended to leave the city job at the end of this month, giving the city little time to find a replacement.

Mayor Dean L. Johnson accepted the resignation yesterday, and said he will begin reviewing 130 applications that had been submitted in November and December in the search for a candidate to take the approximately $74,000-a-year job.

Chitwood, who had been top aide to former Anne Arundel County Executive Robert R. Neall, referred to a former Baltimore Orioles baseball manager in explaining his decision to leave the government job.

"It's like Earl Weaver. Some of the magic is gone," Chitwood said, adding that resigning occurred to him in June. "When the magic is gone, it's time to move on."

He declined to say what his new job would be.

City leaders expressed disappointment about his resignation yesterday. They praised Chitwood's ability to obtain grants for municipal projects, tackle the city budget, streamline customer service and begin efforts to improve the city's aging water and sewer system.

"We've got to go back through the list of professional city managers and administrators and find one that is as good," Johnson said. "He's created a standard that is very high. I've been talking to him, trying to convince him not to leave. But I can understand his decision."

Johnson said Chitwood's decision was also based on conflicts with some city aldermen in budget negotiations and on major city projects such as the West Street traffic circle, the Poplar Park trail and Whitbread Round the World Race preparations.

"He just didn't think he should go through all that again," &L Johnson said. "Walter is a consummate bureaucrat who is very focused and very determined. He just wants to get the job done right."

Chitwood has lived in Annapolis since 1980 and has about 20 years of experience in state and county government.

Pub Date: 9/12/98

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