County official moves to Howard

Development chief to lead executive's staff

November 29, 2006|By Larry Carson and Phillip McGowan | Larry Carson and Phillip McGowan,sun reporters

With his prospects for keeping his job as head of Anne Arundel County's economic development arm looking bleak, Aaron J. Greenfield is leaving to be chief of staff for incoming Howard County Executive Ken Ulman.

Ulman announced the appointment of Greenfield, 35, at a news conference yesterday in Ellicott City. He will start Tuesday, eight months after being appointed by Anne Arundel County Executive Janet S. Owens to run the quasi-government agency.

As chief executive and president of the Anne Arundel Economic Development Corp., he reorganized the management of the county's renowned national-security business incubator and oversaw the county's strong commercial growth.

"Ken Ulman is very fortunate as well as Howard County, and it's Anne Arundel County's loss," Owens said. "Aaron is so bright and knowledgeable, especially about small business."

Owens, a two-term Democrat, is being succeeded next week by Republican John R. Leopold, who has tapped 23 people to serve in his administration, including 12 current Owens appointees. Greenfield was not one of them.

Greenfield said he notified Leopold's chief of staff, Dennis Callahan, yesterday of his impending job. In a phone interview, Greenfield said: "I have no sense of who my successor will be," but he added, "I am very willing to help in whatever the transition process will be."

Leopold said his search for a new economic development president had begun several weeks ago. But he expressed his appreciation for Greenfield's service.

"In fact, I anticipate there will be a number of opportunities for us to work together because of BRAC [the base realignment and closure process] and other issues because I intend to work with other county executives on issue of mutual interest."

Greenfield, of Lutherville, is a 1990 Howard High School graduate who worked for nearly four years as an assistant city solicitor for Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley's administration, followed by a short stint as associate corporate counsel at 1st Mariner Bancorp, and as executive director of the Maryland Business Council.

Greenfield helped in Ulman's election campaign and knew the executive, both from college at the University of Maryland, and socially through distant family ties. "This is very much a coming home. In many ways I'm returning to my roots," he said.

Greenfield's wife, Pamela Kessler, is an assistant state's attorney in Baltimore. Greenfield said he, his wife and two young daughters expect to move to Howard County soon. He will earn $150,000 in his new position.

Ulman said he's convinced that Howard County should join other metropolitan counties in having an executive chief of staff, which would be a new position. Greenfield would be Ulman's liaison to county departments not under direct control of Lonnie Robbins, who was named yesterday as chief administrative officer. Greenfield would also take over General Assembly lobbying duties in January.

Ulman called his choice of the two men a down payment on his campaign pledge to "create the right balance between institutional knowledge and new ideas and new thinking" that will make Howard's government a model.

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