Filling two new posts in his administration, Mayor Martin O'Malley announced yesterday the appointment of two assistant housing commissioners who will oversee inspection divisions, code enforcement, Head Start, day care and homeless services.
The appointment of Denise Duval and Otis Rolley III come as O'Malley continues his search for a permanent housing commissioner, the last of the "big three" city posts he must fill.
O'Malley said at his weekly news conference that he expects to name a replacement for Daniel P. Henson III, the former housing commissioner, by the end of the month. M. J. "Jay" Brodie, executive director of Baltimore Development Corp., has been acting commissioner since Dec. 7.
In naming Duval acting assistant commissioner, O'Malley, for the first time, places the enforcement division under one person -- including all 10 prosecutors and more than 100 housing inspectors.
Duval, a longtime public service lawyer who has worked for such influential advocacy groups as the Community Law Center, has been credited with transforming the housing agency's prosecution office since her swearing in as an assistant state's attorney in 1997.
Rolley will oversee the Head Start preschool program, day care, construction and building inspections and homeless services. His background includes a master's degree in city planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a bachelor of arts degree in political science from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. He has worked in the housing department for more than a year as an executive assistant to the deputy commissioner.
"Otis and Denise are two of the most talented that we've found at HCD," O'Malley said. "I have total confidence in these people. They have a sense of urgency. They don't wait for somebody to tell them what needs to be done."
O'Malley also named Lisa Raimundo, the Downtown Partnership's director of economic development, as "point person" on parking issues. Raimundo will be responsible for initiating the construction of at least one parking garage in the next year and ensuring efficient use of existing spaces.
Raimundo is the author of a 1997 Downtown Partnership's report, "Gateway to Growth: Improving Parking in Downtown Baltimore," which documented the need for 3,615 parking spaces.
Because of the parking crunch, some downtown businesses have considered moving out of the city.
Frank Bramble, chairman of the Downtown Partnership board, said leases of at least 20 businesses will end over the next 15 months, and several companies are considering relocation downtown or to surrounding counties.
"Parking to the degree that it is successful or not successful has a very direct impact on the job base," Bramble said. "Several prominent downtown companies have announced plans to relocate to the suburbs. Parking is not the entire reason, but I can assure that it is a significant reason."
O'Malley said: "We have no transportation plan. It's almost embarrassing that we don't have a more concerted plan."
Sun staff writer Jim Haner contributed to this article.