Harford schools official is quitting after four months

May 06, 2004|By Tricia Bishop | Tricia Bishop,SUN STAFF

Four months after becoming chief administrative officer of Harford County schools, Raymond H. Brown is resigning and returning to the Howard County school system.

"It's a great opportunity," Brown, 55, said yesterday. He will assume his new post as Howard's chief business officer May 19, overseeing financial matters, as well as school planning and construction.

When Brown left the Howard school system at the end of December, he called the move a "great opportunity to grow professionally," though it meant a $14,000 pay cut.

Some, however, speculated that Brown's resignation had more to do with friction with John R. O'Rourke, the former Howard County superintendent. Brown had applied for the chief business officer position twice during O'Rourke's tenure.

After O'Rourke left the school system under pressure from the Board of Education, he was replaced by Sydney L. Cousin, who retired last year as Howard's deputy superintendent. When Cousin returned, Brown reapplied and was hired.

"To be honest, what changed was Sydney Cousin," Brown said yesterday. "I have a very good working relationship with him."

Brown's return to Howard will leave a gaping hole in Harford, which had been trying to fill the chief administrative officer position for two years before hiring Brown.

"He's been a tremendous asset to us over these four months, and we're extremely sorry to see him go," said Harford schools spokesman Don Morrison.

Brown's Harford salary was $101,654. His new Howard salary is $135,000.

Brown's last day in Harford is May 14.

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