Arundel Digest

ARUNDEL DIGEST

January 31, 2007

Freeze on hiring of inspectors lifted

County Executive John R. Leopold has lifted a hiring freeze for inspectors in an effort to strengthen Anne Arundel's environmental enforcement capabilities.

His decision clears the way for the filling of six vacant inspector positions, which Leopold said yesterday will help fulfill his goal "of cracking down on critical area law violations, grading violations and sediment violations, providing the necessary tools to accomplishing those goals."

As part of a series of related announcements Monday, Leopold also created an incentive program for inspectors along with agreeing to reorganize the Department of Inspections and Permits to create a Compliance Division, which will investigate complaints regarding nonpermitted work, including that in the critical watershed area.

Leopold said he is considering raising fines on permit violators and further expanding the staff.

"If I can do it, I will do it," he said.

Leopold opens service hot line

Seeking to make good on a campaign promise to improve constituent service, County Executive John R. Leopold has expanded a calling service so officials can respond more quickly to residents' complaints and concerns.

The service hot line, 410-222- 2222, will be staffed from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays by the seven employees in the Community Constituent Services Office.

County officials said this service represents a $1.5 million savings over a proposed 311 system. The county will incur a $35 monthly cost for a fifth phone line for the office, along with minor administrative costs.

The hot line is an emergency number. A list of emergency numbers can be accessed at the county's Web site, www.aacounty.org.

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