A celebratory time for Harford's Craig

Leader: Swearing-in for new county executive comes a day after birth of 6th grandchild.

July 07, 2005|By Josh Mitchell | Josh Mitchell,SUN STAFF

On the day his daughter gave birth to a girl, David R. Craig stepped down yesterday as a three-term mayor and ended his long career as an educator.

Today, he will be sworn in as the Harford County executive.

And later this month, he'll welcome the arrival of his first book.

"I'm not run-down yet," the 56-year-old Craig said yesterday with a laugh. "My father always said he liked people with even tempers, even temperatures and an even disposition."

Craig could use such wisdom as he prepares to take over the day-to-day operations of a county government serving 233,000 residents. As Harford's top official, Craig will write a half-billion-dollar annual budget and wield the power of a regional governor.

His ascension to the job he has coveted since 1997 was unorthodox. Craig, who unsuccessfully ran for executive in 1998, was elected not by the electorate but by the County Council, which chose him Tuesday over five other candidates.

Craig will fill the remaining 16 months of a seat vacated by James M. Harkins, who resigned this month to take a top state job.

Craig is scheduled to be sworn in for the $90,000-a-year job at 4 p.m. today at Harford Circuit Court in Bel Air.

Craig, a Republican who has spent his entire life in Havre de Grace, offered no specifics on his goals as executive except to say he plans to improve the standard of living in Harford County.

"I do things because I'm not one to sit on the outside and complain about things," said Craig, a former state delegate and state senator. "The best way to get stuff done is run for office."

Yesterday, he was required to end his 34-year career as an educator in the county school system. In the morning, he visited Southampton Middle School, where he announced his retirement as assistant principal.

His next stop was Upper Chesapeake Medical Center in Bel Air, where his eldest daughter, Courtney Tramontana, gave birth to a 6-pound, 10-ounce girl, Cecelia Carol. The girl, who was delivered by Caesarian-section, is Craig's sixth grandchild.

In addition to wallpapering the baby's nursery and getting settled in as county executive, Craig also will spend this month promoting his first book, Greetings from Havre de Grace, published by Schiffler.

The book depicts a history of his native Havre de Grace through vintage postcards of landmarks, including the Concord Point lighthouse. He wrote captions for each card. The initial printing is 1,500 copies.

Last night at Havre de Grace City Hall, Craig formally announced his resignation as mayor. As directed by the city's charter, Council President John P. Correri Jr. will fill the remainder of Craig's term and appoint a new council member.

"I will continue to support you in making Havre de Grace the best city to live in in Harford County," Craig told the Havre de Grace City Council.

Said Southampton Middle School Principal Barbara Canavan: "He was born and raised in Harford County. He believes in Harford County."

Sun staff writer Danny Jacobs contributed to this article.

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