Hayes nominated for vacant seat on Board of Appeals

Engineer and lawyer serves on state advisory council for air quality

February 05, 2002|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,SUN STAFF

The Howard County Council is moving quickly to fill a vacancy on the five-member Board of Appeals at a critical time - as the county moves to hire a hearing examiner who will change the way the board operates.

Yesterday, after considering a dozen applications and interviewing five candidates, the council nominated a semiretired environmental engineer and lawyer who lives in Owen Brown in Columbia. The council will vote on the choice March 4.

Albert J. Hayes, 65, serves on the state air quality control advisory council with two Howard County Council members - Democrats Guy J. Guzzone of North Laurel-Savage, and Mary C. Lorsung of West Columbia.

"I saw the vacancy [in a newspaper ad] and applied," Hayes said. He has experience performing water quality studies, and also has a law degree, all of which should help him on the board, he said. The board mainly decides on land-use cases involving conditional uses and variances.

The vacancy was created when board member William B. Waff of Savage moved out of state last month.

The county plans to hire a part-time hearing examiner in the spring to speed up cases that now go before the full board. Under the new system, all cases will go first to the examiner. Any cases appealed from that first step will go before the board - limiting the board's workload to the most contentious and difficult cases.

Hayes operates a marketing and consulting business so his schedule is flexible, he said. He has been active in his community association and with Columbia issues. "I have been looking for opportunities to try to be active," he said.

Guzzone and Lorsung said they have been impressed with Hayes' work on the air quality committee, and felt he would do a good job on the board too. Board members are paid a base salary of $4,500 a year, plus $90 per board meeting, up to $12,900 a year.

"I must say, I have been very impressed with him on the advisory council," Lorsung said. She and Guzzone said Hayes also is an attractive candidate because he lives in council's 3rd District - the district in which Waff lived. The council, which oversees the board, wants to have board members from different districts so that the entire county is represented.

"I found him reasonable and intelligent and very thoughtful," Guzzone said, adding that very few board applicants were from the eastern county. "He brings some geographical balance."

Lorsung said several of those interviewed would have made good board members.

Ellicott City Republican Christopher J. Merdon said the council is eager to fill the vacancy.

"We don't want to leave it handicapped with one less person and risk a 2-2 [tie] vote" on the board, Merdon said.

Hayes, a graduate of Morgan State University, has been a member of the Maryland Air Quality Control Advisory Council since May 1997, and also has sold real estate. He has worked as a contract employee for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and has done consulting work for several agencies since retiring from a civil service career with the U.S. Department of Energy in 1985.

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