As expected, a top aide to Anne Arundel County Executive Janet S. Owens resigned yesterday, several days after the aide mistakenly told a Pioneer City community group that a University of Maryland football player had been arrested as a youth.
Owens accepted a letter of resignation from Susan Kleinberg, the county's human services officer, Monday evening, Owens' spokesman Matt Diehl said. After meetings last week with the youth's mother and Owens, Kleinberg decided to leave her $99,979 Cabinet-level post, Diehl said.
County employees familiar with Kleinberg's work said yesterday that they were "heartsick" about her departure, and some businessmen praised her work in the troubled neighborhood.
Kleinberg's rushed departure follows a statement she made at a gathering of about 50 residents at the Orchards at Severn development last Tuesday.
Kleinberg said Monte Graves, a University of Maryland football player, had been arrested in Annapolis as a youth but that the Boys and Girls Clubs had turned him around. She could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Some neighborhood businessmen criticized Kleinberg's departure yesterday as unfair considering she apologized when corrected.
"We all make mistakes," said David Blanch, an area landlord who attended the meeting. "She took something someone said as the Bible, and it wasn't. This woman is the first woman who the community feels will help, and now she is leaving because one person didn't like what she said."
Blanch said that when Kleinberg made the statement about Graves, a woman in the audience corrected her. Kleinberg apologized during and after the meeting, he said.