Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold appointed veteran county budget officer John R. Hammond as chief administrative officer Wednesday.
Hammond will take the position formerly held by Dennis M. Callahan, who died Feb. 8 of a heart attack. Hammond has worked for the county government for 18 years, joining the county's finance office in 1993 and later becoming budget officer.
Leopold said he briefly considered other candidates within county government but selected Hammond, whom he called the "obvious and logical choice," because of his experience.
"He has a wealth of governmental experience," said Leopold, a Republican. "He also has a sense of humor, which is imperative in this job. He knows how government works. The budget is the most important matter that we work with, and he knows the budget."
As the county executive's top adviser, Hammond will oversee key government offices, including finance, budget, law, planning and zoning, and detention facilities. As budget officer, Hammond was paid $147,717 a year; in his new post, his annual salary will be $161,175.
Hammond said that when offered the job, he "thought about it a little" and discussed it with his wife, Louise, because "it's certainly a challenge."
"I've tried to work with everybody in government and with the citizens to get good results and plan on continuing that same pattern," Hammond said. "I look forward to leading the county employees and providing county services in a very challenging time."
Hammond, 63, a former Annapolis alderman, earned a master's in business administration from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School in 1973. The Annapolis resident also holds a bachelor's degree in business and industrial management from the Johns Hopkins University.
He worked as a financial executive from 1973 until 1991. He was elected to the Annapolis city council in 1977 and served until 1993, when he began working for the county's finance office.
Assistant Budget Officer Kurt Svendsen, 48, will serve as acting budget officer through this year's budget process. Leopold said a decision on a permanent replacement will be made later.