Harford County spokesman moves to emergency services department, leaving vacancy

Harford County chief spokesman Bob Thomas has been transferred to the Department of Emergency Services, leaving a vacancy in County Executive David Craig's communications department.

Thomas was the spokesman for Craig and 12 departments for more than six years, he said Monday. His title was manager of communications for Harford County government.

He was moved to the Department of Emergency Services on June 10. Thomas' title with his new agency is manager of community outreach and public information.

Thomas, 60, a longtime resident of Joppatowne, said he requested the transfer.

The vacant position previously held by Thomas has been advertised, and the Department of Human Resources has received 82 applications for it so far, deputy chief of staff Ben Lloyd said Monday.

He expects it to be filled within the next month or two.

Thomas' salary in his new position will remain the same at $78,329.68, Lloyd said.

The emergency services post has been vacant for several years, according to Thomas.

Until Thomas' old position is filled, Lloyd has added "general [public information officer] duties" to his responsibilities, Lloyd said.

Before being appointed to the county executive's communications office on Feb. 12, 2007, Thomas was the communications director with the Harford County Sheriff's Office for 15 months.

Thomas' background is in public safety education, including 37 years with the volunteer fire service, and he said he felt it was "an excellent opportunity" to move into the emergency services department. He served as a deputy state fire marshal and is also a former Harford school board president.

Thomas said he is also eager to work again with emergency services department's head, Russell Strickland.

He and Strickland served as police officers together in College Park and also worked together as deputy state fire marshals in the 1970s, Thomas said.

Thomas noted he will not have a take-home county car but will be on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

He said the emergency services position is similar to what other counties have, and Strickland felt the position was needed in Harford.

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