Balto. Co. Council Approves 13 Kamenetz Nominees

… Balto. Council expected to approve remainder of appointments in January …

By Raven L. Hill, The Baltimore Sun

8:54 PM EST, December 20, 2010

The Baltimore County Council approved the bulk of County Executive Kevin Kamenetz’s top-level agency picks on Monday, with the remaining five expected to get the nod in January.

County administrative officer Fred Homan led the list of 13 agency heads unanimously approved Monday night, most of them holdovers from former county executive James T. Smith Jr.’s administration. Homan has served in county government since 1978 and in his current post since 2007.

“Each and every member of the council looks forward to working with each and every new appointee and director as we move Baltimore County forward,” said Council Chairman John A. Olszewski Sr.

The nominees to run new or merged departments will be voted on next month. That list includes retired Councilman Vincent J. Gardina, who would head the new Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability; Arnold E. Jablon, who would serve as chief of the Department of Permits, Inspections and Approvals and deputy administrative officer for agency accountability; and three administrative law judges.

Kamenetz’s 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. The council is expected to consider the plan next month, then will decide on the remaining appointments.

The plan also calls for eliminating more than 140 vacant jobs, which Kamenetz said will save $7.2 million. The mergers are estimated to save more than $750,000 by cutting four department heads’ salaries and benefits.

All nominations are subject to council approval but one: Timothy M. Kotroco, who is leaving the position Jablon would take to join the administrative law panel that replaces the zoning commissioner and deputy zoning commissioner.

Only Jablon and Gardina are not currently working for the county. Gardina stepped down this year after a record five four-year council terms. Jablon worked for the county for 25 years before joining the Venable law firm in 2003. He was head of development before he left the county and has also served as director of planning and zoning, zoning commissioner and county attorney.

The other nominees were tapped by Kamenetz, a Democrat, to take a new post or to continue in their current position.

Olszewski said last week that he expected all of the nominees to be approved.

Copyright © 2010, The Baltimore Sun

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