The man who oversees the day-to-day operation of the Baltimore County government said yesterday that he will resign by the end of the year.
County Administrative Officer Anthony G. Marchione, 74, said he made it clear when he took the job in 2003 that he planned to retire after County Executive James T. Smith Jr.'s first term. He said he wants to travel and spend more time at his house on North Carolina's Outer Banks.
"I know what it feels like to not have a full-time job, and I'm looking forward to doing those things," said Marchione, a former teacher and school administrator.
His departure means that Smith, a Democrat who begins his second term in December, will have to find someone to run the county government. The administrative officer, similar to a city manager, oversees all county departments, 8,000 employees and a $1.59 billion budget. He also works closely with the County Council on behalf of the administration.
A spokesman for Smith said the county executive will meet with advisers in coming weeks to find a replacement, who would face confirmation by the council.
"No one has the inside track and no one's been eliminated" from consideration for the job, said the spokesman, Donald I. Mohler, who declined to name possible candidates.
Mohler called Marchione a "very quiet, yet assured leader ... who always has his eye on the task at hand."
"You'll never see Tony Marchione grandstand," Mohler said.
Councilman Kevin B. Kamenetz said Marchione has had a strong relationship with the council. He pointed to Marchione's quick response to a recent memo by Kamenetz about a problem with development projects being identified with the wrong council district. The county quickly imposed a policy to address the issue.
"He attempts to resolve problems quickly, and he's non-confrontational," said Kamenetz, a Pikesville-Ruxton Democrat.
Marchione, whose salary is $150,000 a year, was a former county schools superintendent who had been retired for three years when Smith tapped him for the job.
Marchione won easy confirmation from the council after a battle over Smith's first pick for the job.
Beverley Swaim-Staley, the former deputy secretary of the Maryland Department of Transportation, had removed her name from consideration after the council opposed her proposed salary and voiced concerns about her management style and lack of experience in county politics and government.
Marchione said he plans to golf, take cooking classes, and study Italian.
"I think we're very fortunate to have the talent and commitment of hard-working people" in the county, Marchione said. "They've made my job easy."