County auditor Rowe's resignation a surprise

BALTIMORE COUNTY DIGEST

March 17, 2007

Baltimore County Auditor Brian J. Rowe said yesterday he will resign at the end of the month after 12 years in the position.

Rowe said he accepted a job from a government agency in Maryland. He also said that a dispute with county officials over a change he had sought in the calculation of employee pensions influenced his decision.

"It's time to turn the page and start a new chapter in my life, seek new challenges," said Rowe, 60, who declined to name his new employer.

As auditor, Rowe, a certified public accountant, oversaw a staff of 19 and worked for the County Council. He provided research on the budget and the financial impact of legislation, as well as performance audits of county agencies.

Council members said his resignation took them by surprise.

"He's invaluable, in my opinion," said Councilman Vincent J. Gardina, a Towson-Perry Hall Democrat. "He really professionalized the office. He changed it from just an office that was strictly accounting audits to policy audits and policy proposals."

Councilman Joseph Bartenfelder pointed out that Rowe is leaving weeks before the council is to receive County Executive James T. Smith Jr.'s proposed budget.

"They're our budget office, part of the check-and-balance system between the executive branch and legislative branch," said Bartenfelder, a Fullerton Democrat.

He said the council would likely fill the $154,000-a-year position after the budget is completed this spring.

In January, all seven council members sponsored a bill that would have enhanced pensions for county employees who previously worked for the state. Gardina said the change, which he generally supported, would have brought that part of the county's pension plan in line with the state and other counties.

But the council withdrew the bill before a Feb. 5 vote after the administration and some council members voiced concern about the cost.

Rowe, who served as chief financial officer for the Maryland State Retirement and Pension System before being hired by the county in 1995, declined to comment on the issue other than to say it was a "factor" in his decision to leave.

Josh Mitchell

Police

Six officers, civilian promoted

Seven members of the county Police Department and one civilian were promoted in a ceremony yesterday.

About 100 people attended the event in the Vista Room at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium.

Lt. Michael Balog was promoted to captain and Sgt. Dean Brubaker was promoted to lieutenant. Other promotions included: Martin Connors and Matthew Gorman, from corporal to sergeant; and Reginald Cohen, Shane Moroz and Rick Shull Jr., from officer to corporal. The civilian, Patrick Linnehan, was promoted within the strategic planning section.

Nick Shields

School board

Session to discuss audit

The Baltimore County school board has scheduled a work session for 7 p.m. Tuesday to discuss the recently released curriculum audit.

The session will be held in Room 114 of the Educational Support Services Building on the Greenwood campus, 6901 N. Charles St., Towson.

Information: 410-887-4126.

Events or news items for the Baltimore County Digest may be submitted to baltco.news@baltsun.com. Information should be sent at least 10 days in advance of the event.

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