Robey's transition team has variety Executive-elect taps pair of Republicans with ties to opponent

'We have to look forward'

November 17, 1998|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

An article in the Howard County edition of The Sun on Nov. 17 incorrectly identified a group supporting a county executive candidate. The African Americans in Howard County-Political Action Committee, not the African-American Coalition of Howard County, endorsed County Executive-elect James N. Robey.

The Sun regrets the error.

Howard County Executive-elect James N. Robey tapped a variety of friends, business executives and even Republicans yesterday to join his transition team, which will make recommendations after he succeeds Republican Charles I. Ecker on Dec. 7.

Robey named 13 people to the team yesterday and he expects 10 more to join.

Of those chosen by Robey, perhaps the biggest surprises were developer Chip Lundy, chief executive of the Williamsburg Group, and Robert Sharps, an African-American businessman.


Lundy had contributed about $1,000 to Republican county executive candidate Dennis R. Schrader's campaign, and Sharps was a member of Schrader's finance committee.

Robey downplayed both men's ties to his former opponent, saying, "We have to look forward.

"I don't think it would've done me any good to pick people who say only what I want to hear," he continued. "That's not the point of a transition team."

Brad Coker, president of Mason Dixon Political/Media Research and a consultant to Schrader, expressed surprise at Sharps' selection.

"With Bob, he's not only close to Dennis, but he was also on the finance committee," Coker said. "It looks like an outreach effort to me."

Robert Ardinger, an adjunct professor of political science at Howard Community College, applauded Robey's choices as demonstrating a willing ness to listen to divergent views.

But he also warned that Robey could find himself feeling torn between those opposing perspectives.

"There's a difference between being 'middle-of-the-road' and being stuck in neutral," Ardinger said. "If you get too much [input], you could be stuck in neutral."

Robey said he chose a transition team that shared his views.

"I wanted to make sure that I have a government that represents my beliefs, a government that serves the people and not just special interests," he said. "I think they will reflect the diversity of Howard County."

He also selected the Rev. Robert A. F. Turner, president of the African-American Coalition of Howard County, which endorsed Robey.

Besides Lundy, other development interests represented on the transition team include Betty Adams, an Ellicott City lawyer whose firm Adams & Adams specializes in real estate transactions and commercial law; and Donora Dingman, a former chairman of the Howard County Economic Development Authority who gave $50 to Robey's campaign.

Robey also tapped two retired county employees -- Paul A. Steves, who headed the management services department, and Richard W. Shaw, who served as director of fire and rescue.

Three Robey campaign committee volunteers also were chosen: Camilla Williams, a management consultant; Bill Benton of Benton & Associates whose company contributed $335 to Robey's campaign; and Luther Starnes, former secretary of the state Department of Human Resources and pastor of the Gary Memorial United Methodist Church in Daniels, who gave $175 to Robey's campaign.

Rounding out Robey's selections were Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. governmental relations representative John F. Miller Jr., and attorneys Steven D. Sass, who donated $25 to the Robey campaign, and Cheryl M. Miller.

The team will be led by former County Executive William E. Eakle Sr., who advised Robey and contributed $600 to his campaign.

The team met for two hours yesterday at the Columbia Gateway building in a gathering that banned all news media. Robey said he closed the discussion to allow the members to speak freely.

"They're going to be looking over someone's shoulder, and I didn't want someone looking over theirs just yet," he said.

Pub Date: 11/17/98

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