In the office of Harford County's new county executive, waterfowl are mostly out and sheep are definitely in.
Even before officially taking office on Dec. 1, Harford County Executive Barry Glassman had begun to change things around in the executive office suite of the county administrative center on South Main Street in Bel Air.
Walls were repainted, worn carpet was replaced and some furnishings were changed in preparation for the changeover from David Craig, who had been county government's chief executive for nearly a decade, to Glassman.
In addition to adorning his office with mementos of a 16-year career in the state legislature and objects reflecting his roots in agriculture and as a firefighter, Glassman adorned part of the county's seal with colors he used in his campaign literature and on his bumper stickers and posters in the recent election campaign.
The cosmetic changes to the third floor of the administrative building, where the executive's offices are, got under way in mid-November and were largely completed by the end of December, according to Cindy Mumby, spokesperson for Glassman's administration.
"This was routine maintenance and refresh," Mumby said. "Workers from facilities and operations made routine improvements to 12 offices and areas."
"No outside contractors were used, no walls were knocked down, no new fixtures were purchased," she added.
In addition to the executive's office suite, which also includes the office of Director of Administration Billy Boniface, the procurement and community services departments and the third floor conference room off of the executive's offices were repainted, Mumby said.
The cost to county taxpayers was nominal, she said, adding: "We are mindful of expenditures."
Other than buying paint, the only out-of-pocket costs involved were for a used chair and a new desk for an executive secretary, she said.
They are also buying a "smart board" monitor, "like you find in every school classroom," to replace the dry erase board in the conference room, Mumby said, "to bring the conference room into the 21st century.
She also said worn carpet tiles, whose estimated age was 12 to 15 years, were replaced by new ones stored in a county warehouse for such needs. Three chairs were also brought into the executive's suite from the lobby of the building and bookcases were removed from Glassman's personal office and put in storage, she said.
Noting the long tenure of the previous administration, Mumby said the majority of the walls that were repainted hadn't been done in 10 years. Chair rails in some offices, like Glassman's, were painted a deep blue.
"Routinely when a new administration comes in the walls are refreshed, and that was the case here," she added.
The county executive has a personal office and a reception/meeting room. In the latter, Craig had a pair of swan decoys and a vase given to him by the Havre de Grace City Council, in appreciation of his service as the city's mayor, sitting atop a credenza. The swans paid homage to his hometown and its waterfowl hunting and carving heritage.
The swans were among the last things Craig removed. During his last two weeks in office, he permitted the repainting and recarpeting and other work to go on, and even joked about it when he met with reporters on his final full day in office on Nov. 26, explaining the swans and vase had stayed that long for a photo backdrop during final media interviews.
With Glassman's arrival, the swans have been replaced on the credenza by a few books and matching brass ram's head bookends and a brass fire captain's trumpet, or megaphone, symbolic of a fire service officer, as shown in photographs supplied by Mumby.
In addition to owning a small sheep farm, Glassman was active as a volunteer fireman for many years, and his ties to the farm community and the local fire service have been an important base of his 30-year career in Harford politics.
In his personal office, Glassman, a Republican, has mounted framed photographs of Presidents Ronald Reagan and Abraham Lincoln on one wall, along with his diploma from Washington College. He has a painting of a sheep on another wall and a bust of Lincoln behind his desk, which is arrayed with figurines: a sheep, an elephant and small wood carving of a duck among them.
The round table in the reception room has also become home to two metal sheep figurines and one wall of the room is hung with framed ceremonial pens used for signing legislation Glassman sponsored during his 16 years in the Maryland General Assembly as a delegate and state senator.
Missing from the reception room wall over the credenza is a replica of the county seal. It's in the facilities room, where blue and green will be added to the border, Mumby explained.
The dark blue and green colors started showing up on the band around the seal shortly after Glassman was elected and began issuing transition-related news releases. It has been used on all news releases since he took office.
The change is here to stay for the duration of the Glassman administration, Mumby said, and will eventually appear "on all external communications."
"He likes the blue and green," Mumby said of the color change, which represents "blue skies and green pastures."
The current county seal was adopted in 1964 and although the county code is specific about the colors used in the center shield, "gold to symbolize the wealth of the county and the richness of its fields" and "waving bands of blue signifying three major county streams – Deer Creek, Bynum Run and Winters Run," according to the county's website, no color was specified for the band around the shield that also contains the words "Harford County Maryland," Mumby said.
Historically, the color band has been all blue. The seal that hung on the executive's reception room wall during previous administration had a light blue field surrounding the shield and coat of arms, and a darker blue outer band.
The shield that appears everywhere on the county's website has an all-blue band, but that is expected to change in time, too, according to Mumby, who said the county legal department signed off on the color band change.
"It brightens the look of the seal," she said.