The Baltimore County Council confirmed last night the nomination of the county's longtime budget director to his first full term overseeing the government's day-to-day operation - less than a week after misconduct allegations were raised against him by an ex-county employee.
Fred J. Homan, who took over as acting county administrative officer in November, will receive a 23 percent raise as County Executive James T. Smith Jr.'s top appointee.
Council members, who interviewed Homan last week, asked him no questions last night. His nomination was approved, 5-0, with Councilman Joseph Bartenfelder abstaining. Councilman Vincent J. Gardina was absent.
As soon as the vote was called, many in the audience applauded. But during the public-comments portion after the meeting, two women criticized Homan's confirmation and pay raise, noting that other county workers got much smaller raises.
"The rest of the team received 3 percent on much smaller salaries," said Kimberly Colwell, adding that the $36,000 raise for Homan is more than her salary as a county employee. "Now is not the right time for such an increase."
The speakers also alluded to a lawsuit, filed last week in federal court by a former county employee, that names as defendants Homan, an assistant county attorney and the county government. The suit, filed by Miriam Grice, 55, of Columbia, alleges that she was fired from her job overseeing workers' compensation claims after she witnessed an "awkward scene" involving Homan and the assistant county attorney, Suzanne Berger. Grice's lawyer declined to elaborate on the allegations.
A county spokeswoman has described the suit as allegations made by a "disgruntled ex-employee" while declining to comment further, pointing to a policy to not comment on pending litigation. Through the spokeswoman, Homan and Berger declined to comment.
The council approved Smith's proposal to increase Homan's salary to $190,000 from $154,000. A spokesman for Smith said the proposal would bring the Homan's salary in line with the pay of administrative officers in other counties.
Homan, 54, was appointed in November to fill a vacancy left by the retirement of Anthony G. Marchione.email@example.com