Official sought for Ga. post

Andrews may become manager of county that includes Atlanta

October 08, 1999|By Amy Oakes | Amy Oakes,SUN STAFF

Anne Arundel County's land-use and environment officer is expected to be offered a job as early as today as county manager in Fulton County, Ga., which includes Atlanta.

Fulton County's seven commissioners voted unanimously Wednesday to offer the position to Thomas C. Andrews, who was chief administrative officer to former Anne Arundel County Executive John G. Gary before heading the Department of Public Works and Department of Planning and Code Enforcement as land use officer.

The commissioners worked on a job proposal package yesterday, said Josh Kenyon, chief of staff for Mike Kenn, the commissioners' chairman.

"The search firm DMG-MAXIMUS will be conveying the offer to Mr. Andrews in the next couple of days, maybe as early as tomorrow," Kenyon said yesterday.

Andrews, 57, declined to comment.

John Morris, a spokesman for the land-use and environment office, said Andrews has not spoken to the commissioners or the search firm about the job. "He doesn't feel comfortable talking about it until he talks to them."

Fulton is the largest and richest county in the Southeast, said Edwina Palmer, a public affairs officer for the jurisdiction. It is made up of 10 municipalities and has a population of 786,100, according to statistics compiled this year.

Andrews was the commissioners' second choice to be Fulton's top administrator. After a three-month search that yielded four candidates, the commissioners offered the position to Teree L. Caldwell-Johnson, who holds the same job in Polk County, Iowa. She declined.

"During the negotiations, they were unable to reach an agreement on pay," Palmer said.

If he takes the position, Andrews will replace Cecelia Corbin Hunter, who was named acting deputy county manager when the commissioners fired Manager Robert Regus in November 1998 after the commission learned of a projected $85 million shortfall in the proposed 1999 budget. Palmer said negotiations would include a salary offer.

As Anne Arundel's land-use officer, Andrews earns $94,671 a year, said Andrew C. Carpenter, the county administration's spokesman.

Andrews would become the eighth high-level county official to leave since Janet S. Owens took office Dec. 7. Two retired, Police Chief Larry Tolliver was told to resign, and the others moved on to other jobs.

Owens was in New York City yesterday and could not be reached for comment. Carpenter said he called the county executive yesterday morning to inform her of the Fulton County offer.

"This would be a loss for the land-use office," Carpenter said.

Andrews said he began looking for employment when Owens, a Democrat, defeated the Republican incumbent in November, Morris said. Andrews has received sev- eral calls and offers, Morris said.

"Last fall, he placed his resume with an executive placement firm," Morris said. "He wasn't sure what the future held."

Andrews' 30 years in government include five years as director of administration for the state Department of Natural Resources and four years as Anne Arundel's health officer.

Andrews' role in two deals with land developers during Gary's tenure has been the subject of outside scrutiny.

Andrews was subpoenaed March 16 to testify about the county's relocation of a proposed road last year. The FBI and the Anne Arundel County Ethics Commission were investigating whether that road change was to help developers planning an Annapolis-area retail and housing complex.

While he was chief administrative officer, county officials came under fire for granting developer Jay Winer and land-use lawyer Fred Delavan, both politically well-connected, a deeply discounted lease for a cellular phone tower.

"I guess it's not a consideration" for the Fulton County commissioners, County Council Chairman Daniel E. Klosterman Jr., a Glen Burnie Democrat, said of Andrews' involvement. Andrews' departure, Klosterman said, would leave Owens with another position to fill, which he said might not be a negative thing.

"Sometimes change and a new perspective are good," Klosterman said.

Sun staff writer Matthew Mosk contributed to this article.

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