Kamenetz announces Balto. Co. leadership team

Mix of old and new in appointments; Council gets list on Monday

December 03, 2010|By Mary Gail Hare and Raven L. Hill, The Baltimore Sun

Baltimore County Executive-elect Kevin B. Kamenetz's leadership team is taking shape with a mix of old and new faces, while some longtime county staffers find themselves out of a job.

Kamenetz announced Friday that he wants to keep Fred Homan as county administrative officer and appoint retiring Councilman Vincent J. Gardina to head the new Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability.

Arnold E. Jablon, who has served under five county executives, will return as chief of the Department of Permits, Inspections and Approvals and deputy administrative officer for agency accountability. County spokesman Donald I. Mohler III will become Kamenetz's chief of staff.

Several department heads are leaving or have been dismissed, including planning director Arnold "Pat" Keller and economic development director David Iannucci. Community conservation director Mary L. Harvey and sustainability director David A.C. Carroll are retiring.

Kamenetz will submit his list of appointees to the County Council on Monday. He said the team reflects his administration's "focus on efficiency, consolidation and innovation."

"I am very pleased with the team that I am sending to the council for confirmation," Kamenetz said in a statement. "I have spoken to … all of the members of the council, and I am confident that they will move quickly to consider these recommendations."

Gardina, long considered the council's environmental conscience, said he became interested in environmental issues as a child.

"That is one of the reasons I became involved in politics in the first place," he said. "Now I look forward to a rewarding experience as head of this new agency."

His predecessor, Jonas Jacobson, director of environmental protection, has accepted a management position in the county Department of Social Services.

Gardina said he's planning to initiate projects that will improve water quality and enhance efforts to safeguard the Chesapeake Bay. He pledged to complete environmental reviews of commercial and residential projects in the most timely manner and to urge county agencies to employ energy efficiency and resource conservation.

"I want the county to be a model of sustainability," said Gardina, the longest-serving councilman in Baltimore County history. "If government can accomplish that, the private sector will implement many of those same policies."

Gardina's pension was the subject of criticism last fall. His 20 years of council service entitle him to his full $54,000 salary for the rest of his life. That pension is deferred while he works full-time at his new job. He said he will opt into the county pension plan in his new position.

Kamenetz and Gardina were close allies during this year's election. Even though Gardina was not running, he contributed nearly $200,000 from his campaign funds to a slate he shares with Kamenetz and Council Chairman John A. Olszewski Sr. Gardina's campaign also gave $6,000 directly to Kamenetz's campaign.

The council must confirm the appointments within 40 days of submission.

Earlier this week, Kamenetz announcing a proposal to save $8 million by merging several county departments and eliminating more than 140 positions.

The plan calls for folding three agencies — the Office of Community Conservation, the Office of Sustainability and the Office of Workforce Development — into existing departments, combining the jobs of labor commissioner and human resources director, and merging the duties of three other positions into an Office of Administrative Law, made up of three judges.

Four department head positions would be cut under the plan, which also calls for eliminating 143 vacant jobs. Cutting the vacant jobs would save $7.2 million, Kamenetz said. He estimated that the four department heads' salaries and benefits total more than $750,000. The cuts represent a small fraction of the county's budget and its more than 3,700 employees.

Harvey's and Carroll's positions were among those impacted by the merger proposal. John E. Beverungen is leaving the county attorney post to become deputy zoning commissioner.

mary.gail.hare@baltsun.com

raven.hill@baltsun.com

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