Agee picked to run city

Administrator appointee must be OK'd by council

`Has a wealth of experience'

Crofton businessman was aide to Lighthizer in '80s


August 07, 2002|By Amanda J. Crawford | Amanda J. Crawford,SUN STAFF

A Crofton businessman and aide to former Anne Arundel County Executive O. James Lighthizer has been appointed to run the Annapolis city government.

Robert Agee, 53, started work yesterday as acting city administrator, Mayor Ellen O. Moyer announced. If confirmed by the city council, Agee, who will earn $93,000 a year, will be the first permanent city administrator of Moyer's term.

Moyer, who said she worked with Agee in his county role during the 1980s, said he complements a new city team with a range of talents.

"Bob has a wealth of experience within the county and a lot of contacts both within the state and outside the state," the mayor said.

Noting her recent selection of former city administrator Michael D. Mallinoff to reorganize the troubled Bureau of Inspections and Permits, she said: "Putting these two talents together ... brings a real dynamic team to the city."

Agee also has experience in the political arena, having waged an unsuccessful campaign for the Democratic nomination for county executive in 1994. He received 29 percent of the vote in the primary but lost to Del. Theodore J. Sophocleus, who was beaten by Republican John G. Gary in the general election.

Agee said he has no plans to run for public office again but admits to a love of public policy.

"I think developing and implementing public policy is a real interesting, dynamic process," he said. "Some people like chasing golf balls. I like chasing public policy."

As city administrator, he said, he hopes to help maintain good ties with the county and state governments and to build relationships with members of the city council.

Alderman Louise Hammond said she hopes that Agee will help improve communication between the council and city departments.

"I am going to be looking to him to help me with the various issues and problems I have in my ward," she said. "In general, I have had a tough time getting information out of City Hall."

For the past decade, Agee has worked in the private sector as vice president for research and development for Chaney Enterprises, a Southern Maryland sand and gravel conglomerate.

A few years ago, as spokesman for a development company headed by Frank H. Chaney II, Agee was mired in the controversy surrounding allegations the company had made backroom deals to secure a road realignment favorable to the proposed Annapolis Marketplace development on Bestgate Road.

In recent years, Agee has been active on a variety of boards and commissions. He serves on the Maryland Wetlands Commission and is founder and president of Trust for Resource Allocation and Conservation, a nonprofit national land trust called.

Agee, who grew up in Glen Burnie, holds a bachelor's degree in economics and political science from Western Maryland College. He also did graduate work in urban planning and development at the University of Maryland. He served as an aide for members of the General Assembly before going on to be executive director of the Anne Arundel Trade Council, the pre- cursor to the Chamber of Commerce.

When Lighthizer became county executive in 1982, Agee served as his senior assistant. During his eight years on the job, Agee was known as a problem solver who was instrumental in the creation of Quiet Waters Park outside city limits.

When Lighthizer left the executive's office, Agee worked briefly as his aide at the Maryland Department of Transportation before joining Chaney Enterprises in 1992.

Moyer said that Agee was selected from among 13 candidates interviewed by David Stahl, the former acting city administrator. Mallinoff and former Department of Natural Resources Secretary John R. Griffin, who turned down the job, were among the candidates.

Agee, who says he is looking for a home in Annapolis, has two children and two stepchildren. His wife, Remy, is special programs manager with the county Department of Social Services.

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