Ulman announces choices as legislative director, cable chief

Aide to state senator selected as lobbyist, UM official for TV slot

December 27, 2006|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,sun reporter

The Ulman administration is hiring a new legislative director and a county cable administrator, both with long backgrounds in public affairs.

Joan Lewis Kennedy, 45, of Clarksville, whose family has operated a veterinary clinic in the county for years, is to be the $98,134 chief lobbyist, working with the General Assembly and the County Council, County Executive Ken Ulman said yesterday.

Serena Ferguson Mann, 49, of North Laurel, who was station manager for Howard's government cable channel for six years until 1995, has been nominated to be cable administrator. She recently took an early retirement from an 11-year stint as vice president of the University of Maryland's cable television station. Her job would pay $75,317, administration officials said.

Her first focus, if approved by the council, she said, would be to make sure Verizon cable video customers get access to county government broadcasting, which includes televised government and school board meetings, as quickly as possible. Verizon won a county cable franchise last year.

Harry J. Mitchell, Verizon media relations director for the Mid-Atlantic region, said the public channels should be available to Howard customers by late next month, which would be before the council's scheduled February vote on Mann's appointment.

Pia Jordan, a senior producer at Howard's GTV station who was hired by Mann in 1990, said her former boss would do well as cable administrator. "She's a very creative person," Jordan said.

Kennedy, a former legislative aide to state Sen. George W. Della, who also worked as an Assembly committee staffer, is leaving her job as director of community and governmental relations at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County to work for Ulman.

Ulman said he wanted to fill both posts as quickly as possible.

"I thought it was important," the executive said about the cable post, which has been vacant for months after former administrator Dean Smits left.

Kennedy will primarily work on General Assembly issues during the annual 90-day session that begins next month, Ulman said, but she'll also coordinate administration positions with the council.

"Her name came up repeatedly," as he was looking for the right person, Ulman said.


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