Ruppersberger selects two for key Balto. County positions Posts are top appointed job and executive's chief of staff

November 18, 1998|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,SUN STAFF

Natives from opposite ends of Baltimore County are set to take two of the county government's most sensitive jobs, as newly re-elected County Executive C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger gears up for his second term.

John M. Wasilisin, 43, who grew up in Essex and lives in Perry Hall, is Ruppersberger's choice to fill the vacant administrative officer's post -- the top appointed job in the government. He replaces Robin Churchill, who left after 16 months to become comptroller of the county school system.

Terry S. Young, 45, a Catonsville native and resident, is to become Ruppersberger's executive secretary and chief of staff, starting next month.

L "My philosophy is to look inside first," Ruppersberger said.

Wasilisin, a 12-year county government worker, has directed job retraining programs and temporarily headed the old county Department of Community Development, which was eliminated in a reorganization. He would be paid $99,395 if the County Council approves the appointment.

Ruppersberger said he was impressed by Wasilisin's ability to ,, deal with the council, his experience and "very good people skills," and his reputation for integrity.

Young, a 25-year University of Maryland employee who is director of program development and public affairs at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center, would take over for Jennifer A. Macek, who will retire after the new administration is sworn in Dec. 7. Young would earn $66,248.

Ruppersberger said he has seen Young work under pressure at Shock Trauma, where the executive is a board member. He said he believes she has a sense of propriety similar to Macek's, and is energetic, productive and loyal.

Young and Wasilisin were recruited by Ruppersberger.

"This is an exciting opportunity for me," said Wasilisin. "I am humbled to take it, and I think I can bring something to the position."

Council Chairman Stephen G. Sam Moxley, a Catonsville Democrat, said he wants no vote until after two new council members are sworn in Dec. 7 and get settled, and the council can interview Wasilisin, probably in January.

The choice is not expected to be controversial, several council members said. Budget Director Fred Homan will act as administrative officer until the council acts.

The job "is to run the county on a day-to-day basis and do the nitty-gritty things," said former administrative officer Merreen E. Kelly. "Policy is up to elected officials."

Some critics worry that the job's traditional scope -- outlined in the County Charter -- has been eroded by the strong policy role performed by Michael H. Davis, Ruppersberger's spokesman, chief lobbyist and right-hand man.

"My problem is that I'm an old Navy guy who likes the chain of command," said Douglas B. Riley, a Towson Republican who is leaving the council after two terms. "The administrative officer should be more of a substantial position than Dutch has allowed it to be."

But Ruppersberger said he runs the county his way, and Wasilisin "is willing to work under the system we put in place. My issue is getting results."

Pub Date: 11/18/98

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