Baltimore County Digest

BALTIMORE COUNTY DIGEST

November 22, 2006

Smith names Homan administrative officer

Baltimore County Executive James T. Smith Jr. has appointed Fred Homan, the county's budget chief, to oversee the government's day-to-day operation.

Homan will replace County Administrative Officer Anthony G. Marchione, who told department heads yesterday that he will retire Nov. 30, after almost four years in the position.

Homan will have to be confirmed twice by the County Council - first to fulfill the remaining six months of Marchione's term, then for his own four-year term.

"There's nobody that has the wealth of experience and knowledge of Baltimore County beyond Fred Homan," said Smith, pointing out that Homan has been with the county since 1978.

The administrative officer oversees all county departments, about 8,000 employees and a $1.59 billion budget. He also works closely with the council on behalf of the administration. He will remain director of the Office of Budget and Finance through May. His salary is $154,095.

Homan, who was unavailable for comment yesterday, has twice served as interim administrative officer.

"He's certainly well-qualified and he's well-known to the council," said Councilman Kevin B. Kamenetz, a Pikesville-Ruxton Democrat.

But Councilman Vincent J. Gardina said Homan has sometimes put too much emphasis on saving money at the expense of community needs.

Gardina, a Towson-Perry Hall Democrat, said he would have preferred that Smith choose someone from outside the county to run the government, to provide a fresh perspective. But he said he would not oppose Homan's confirmation.

Josh Mitchell

Perry Hall

Bank robbery puts 3 schools on alert

Three Baltimore County schools were placed on alert at midday yesterday after three gunmen robbed a bank in Perry Hall, authorities said.

Shortly after 11 a.m., three armed men wearing dark clothing and ski masks entered a 1st Mariner Bank in the 8800 block of Bel Air Road, demanded money and drove off with an undisclosed sum of cash, said Cpl. Michael Hill, a county police spokesman. Hill said that at one point two of the three men jumped over a bank counter to steal cash.

A vehicle authorities believe was used by the gunmen to flee the scene was found about three blocks away from the bank, police said.

Perry Hall Elementary, Middle and High schools were locked for more than an hour because of the robbery, Hill said, but classes continued inside the buildings.

Charles A. Herndon, county schools spokesman, said placing the schools on alert was a precaution.

Anyone with information is asked to call county police at 410-307-2020 or Metro Crime Stoppers at 1-866-7 LOCKUP. Those calling Metro Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward of up to $2,000.

Nick Shields

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