State, Howard agree on social services panel

Members will help choose new director for county

August 04, 2004|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,SUN STAFF

With four Baltimore-area jurisdictions seeking new social service directors, state and Howard County leaders yesterday agreed to a committee approach that state Human Resources Secretary Christopher J. McCabe said he hopes will become a statewide model.

A joint state-county committee will review candidates and suggest two or three finalists, McCabe said - similar to a Baltimore County group created last week for the same purpose. New directors also are being sought in Baltimore City and Anne Arundel County.

Howard County Executive James N. Robey said he was furious last week that he had not been consulted when McCabe named an interim Howard director to replace Sam Marshall, who is retiring. Robey said he changed his tack during a meeting yesterday morning with McCabe, a former Howard County state senator, in Ellicott City.

"There was a part of me that wanted to scream and yell, `Let's start all over again,' but that wouldn't do the people who worked over there or the people who need services any good. That was all water under the dam," Robey said.

"I was thinking, `Let's go to court,' but what good does that do?" Robey added, agreeing with McCabe that their 40-minute meeting was "amicable."

The executive named Raquel Sanudo, county administrative officer, Susan Rosenbaum, citizen services director, and a county social services board member to the nominating committee. Robey said he wants finalists selected within 30 days.

Said McCabe: "I respect the county executive, and I could have done a better job in working directly with him rather than just through staff."

Marshall, who retired Friday, also approved of the committee proposal. "I'm glad this is happening because that makes this an open system," he said.

Doris Mason, assistant director of Howard County Social Services for child welfare, was selected by McCabe last month to become the county's interim director.

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