Interim economic chief named

Owens taps Badger, development board's vice president

July 27, 1999|By Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan | Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan,SUN STAFF

Anne Arundel County Executive Janet S. Owens named yesterday the senior vice president of the county's economic development corporation to temporarily replace president Richard J. Morgan, who abruptly resigned two weeks ago to take a private-sector job.

William A. Badger Jr., 44, joined the Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation (AAEDC) -- a private corporation that receives public funds and is overseen by a county-controlled board -- as Morgan's right-hand man in 1994.

Morgan handed his letter of resignation to Owens at the groundbreaking for Arundel Mills mall on July 15, a week after state officials criticized AAEDC's operations in a private meeting with the county executive and her chief advisers. Morgan, who had headed the agency for two years, recently faced scrutiny about the under-performance of loans brokered by the agency, a corporation insider said.

Badger's appointment takes effect Saturday.

Badger "is highly thought of," Owens said. "Things are booming in this county, and there's not a great deal of time for a learning curve. I'm just delighted that Bill agreed to be acting president and CEO. There'll be continuity and no loss of momentum."

Owens plans to pick Morgan's permanent replacement within two to three weeks and is considering Badger for the job. Owens has said she hopes to change the AAEDC's policy of keeping its work private, even from her. The county auditor is studying the agency's finances and is scheduled to release a report at the end of this month.

Badger said he was happy Owens tapped him for the interim job and emphasized that he would "help her in any way, as far as looking for a permanent person is concerned."

"I told her I would be interested in being that person, but I also would support any person that she would appoint to that position," he said.

Badger, who lives in Brooklyn Park with his wife Colleen and 7-year-old daughter Hilary, joined the AAEDC after working at the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development for 17 years, advancing from community development representative to senior industrial development representative.

He graduated with a bachelor of science degree in business administration from then-Towson State University in 1976 and worked as a budget assistant at the State Department of Education and the comptroller's office before joining the state economic development agency.

County Councilwoman Pamela G. Beidle, who sat on the AAEDC's board a few years ago, said Badger has been important in "attracting the kinds of businesses we need in Anne Arundel County."

"A lot of companies at the National Business Park [in Odenton] are here because of Bill's work," Beidle said of the 175-acre project, which contains 560,000 square feet of office space. "He really does have many years of experience in this, and he's really terrific at bringing companies to the area."

Badger said he plans to emphasize the importance of tourism to the county and continue promoting it as an ideal location for technology companies to set up corporate headquarters.

"We are the third-wealthiest county in Maryland, and the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries ensure a high quality of life here," Badger said. "It's pretty much a continuation of what we've been doing."

Pub Date: 7/27/99

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