Dixon names top City Hall staff

Selections suggest continuity with O'Malley agenda

December 07, 2006|By John Fritze | John Fritze,Sun Reporter

Incoming Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon yesterday named two City Hall officials and a veteran lawmaker to lead her interim administration next year - choices that she said underscore her commitment to carry on the priorities set by Gov.-elect Martin O'Malley.

In perhaps the most significant announcement, Dixon named Otis Rolley III, currently the director of the city's Department of Planning, as chief of staff. Dixon also selected Andrew B. Frank, executive vice president of the Baltimore Development Corp., as a deputy mayor for economic development.

Both men are close to O'Malley, and their appointments speak to the continuity Dixon said she hopes to maintain as she serves the remainder of O'Malley's mayoral term from January through mid-December. Dixon also named Del. Salima S. Marriott, a Democrat representing Baltimore's 40th District, as deputy mayor for community and human development - a new position at City Hall.

"I look forward to increasing my ability to move this city, as seamlessly as possible, forward these next ... months," Dixon said. "The priority for us is really the people of this city and how we can make a difference to move Baltimore forward."

As required by city charter, Dixon will take over as mayor Jan. 17 when O'Malley is sworn in as governor. Some have quietly expressed concern over the transition because of a continuing investigation by the state prosecutor's office into city contracts that involved Dixon's sister and a former campaign chairman.

But Dixon is working to overcome those concerns. Dixon, who has vowed to seek a full, four-year mayoral term in next year's election, appointed a 50-member transition team last month that included well-known business, nonprofit, health care and religious leaders.

Rolley, 32, was first hired as an assistant housing commissioner by the O'Malley administration in 2000. He holds a master's degree in city planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a bachelor's degree in political science from Rutgers.

Dixon has repeatedly identified implementing the city's comprehensive master plan as a key priority of her administration. That plan, which sets broad goals for land use, was drafted by Rolley's staff.

"We have our game book. We have a visionary leader," Rolley said. "The foundation that was laid by the O'Malley administration is a strong one, is a solid one. And now we have a house to build."

Frank, 40, is a longtime BDC executive who has brokered some of the city's largest development deals. In 2004, O'Malley appointed Frank to the position of Inner Harbor coordinator, where he has directed much of the city's recent waterfront development. In his new position, Frank will act as a liaison between the BDC and city departments to negotiate development deals.

Marriott, 66, has served in the General Assembly since 1991 and she led the city delegation to Annapolis until she lost a bid for Senate this year. Marriott will focus on managing Baltimore's wide spectrum of social services, including public health and senior citizen programs.

"What I believe is extraordinarily important, as we move Baltimore forward, is that we actually acknowledge that every citizen has a potential and we are committed to developing that potential," Marriott said. "We are going to be concerned about the human being when they arrive in our city."

Frank and Marriott will serve in positions that do not exist in the O'Malley administration. In 1999, O'Malley named Laurie Schwartz deputy mayor of economic and neighborhood development, but the responsibilities of that office eventually fell to the mayor's chief of staff, Clarence T. Bishop.

O'Malley has two deputy mayors, Michael R. Enright - a longtime confidant - and Jeanne D. Hitchcock, who handles intergovernmental affairs. Both Enright and Hitchcock are leaving City Hall next year for positions in O'Malley's gubernatorial administration.

The chief of staff receives a salary of $141,400 and the deputy mayor position's salary is $131,300.

"This is a great time for Baltimore. We have a foundation to build on that wasn't necessarily there six years ago," Frank said. "[Dixon's] going to show the people of Baltimore that she's going to be a great leader of this city."


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