Kamenetz sworn in as new Baltimore County executive

Democrat submits plan to merge departments, cut jobs

December 06, 2010|By Raven L. Hill, The Baltimore Sun

Kevin B. Kamenetz was sworn in Monday as Baltimore County executive, vowing to bring a vision of prosperity and opportunity to neighborhoods and to lead the county in reclaiming its mantle as the "ideas county."

"Change is inevitable, but progress is optional," the 52-year-old attorney said during his inaugural address to a crowd of 1,500. "Throughout its history, the people of Baltimore County have consistently chosen the path of progress. Progress is built by creative people with new ideas."

Efficiency and innovation — central themes in his campaign — have emerged as early policy ideals. Within hours of his inauguration, he submitted a proposal to the County Council that he said would save $8 million by merging several county departments and eliminating more than 140 positions. The former county councilman also made appointments to head 16 county agencies.

County Council members, five of them newcomers, also took the oath of office in a ceremony at Towson University that drew Gov. Martin O'Malley, Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger — a former Baltimore County executive — Rep. John Sarbanes and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. Outgoing County Executive James T. Smith Jr. also attended, as did former executives Ted Venetoulis, Donald P. Hutchinson and Roger Hayden.

Kamenetz, a Democrat who spent 16 years on the County Council, replaces Smith, who had reached the end of his two-term limit.

Kamenetz said his inauguration had brought him "full circle," completing a journey that took him from a teenage campaign volunteer to the county's top post.

A Lochearn native, Kamenetz described himself as a "lucky man" who'd been able to carve out a rich life close to home.

"I am committed to making sure that my own boys and all of the children growing up in Baltimore County today have the same opportunities to prosper that my generation did," Kamenetz said.

Kamenetz has named former council colleague S.G. Samuel Moxley to serve as an assistant county attorney with primary responsibility for government affairs, said chief of staff Don Mohler, who added that Moxley will have responsibility for council communication and an as yet undetermined role with the county's legislative team in Annapolis.

Inaugural ceremonies were also held Monday in Anne Arundel, Harford and Howard counties.

"It's going to be a productive four years," said Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold, a Republican. "I look forward to a good working relationship with the council. That's how I was so successful in my first term — by treating each council person with courtesy and respect."

Five new members joined the seven-member Anne Arundel County Council.

Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, a Democrat, and all five incumbent county council members were sworn in Monday evening.

Ulman said that despite tough budget times, he intends to build on initiatives aimed at making Howard a leader in health, environmental sustainability and technology.

Ulman, who is also the incoming president of the Maryland Association of Counties, said he intends to complete work on three large regional parks, a nature center, a new library and a large community center in North Laurel.

"I think it's safe to say that people will see more of the same leadership," Ulman said prior to the ceremony.

In Harford County, voters had returned all seven council incumbents and the county executive to office. The inauguration was outside the courthouse but kept short because of the blustery day.

County Executive David R. Craig pledged to continue serving the people who entrusted him with leading the county through some of its most challenging times.

"There is no higher office than that of citizen," he said. Leadership "must be done in the light of what is best not for the leaders, but for the people who placed them there."

Sun reporters Larry Carson, Nicole Fuller and Mary Gail Hare contributed to this article.


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