Former Baltimore Co. executive spends workdays seeking a job


Three months after leaving office, former Baltimore County Executive Roger B. Hayden is looking for work.

Mr. Hayden still comes to Towson every day from his Baldwin home, but instead of going to the county office building to deal with the problems of 700,000 constituents, he and Marina Brockman, his former executive secretary, now work in his old campaign headquarters to find themselves paying jobs.

They use the space above the Kent Lounge in the 500 block of York Road as an employment office and occasional gathering spot for Hayden campaign volunteers and former staffers who stop by to trade gossip and job information.

On Dec. 5, the Republican surrendered power to Democrat C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger III, who defeated him handily Nov. 8.

The day after Mr. Hayden's loss he complained at a news conference that Mr. Ruppersberger ran a "gutter campaign" and that the media had failed to inform voters about Mr. Hayden's record or about the campaign. Then he disappeared from the public eye.

But a relaxed, healthy-looking Mr. Hayden, 50, said recently he no longer felt any ill will. "The day after the election, it was history for me," he said. "That's behind me."

He said he is involved in a deal to buy a small monthly Parkville newspaper called the Times-Herald. He denied buying the paper himself from owner Bill Bissell, who operates out of a second-floor Bingo Hall in the 7900 block of Harford Road. Mr. Bissell would not discuss the sale. Mr. Hayden said he also has done several small consulting jobs.

However, later he declined to talk any more about his life since leaving office. "I am a private citizen, and I enjoy it," he said several times.

He appeared twice during February on WCBM's conference call radio program, and is due again March 15, but the former steel and trucking company executive otherwise has returned to the quiet, unpretentious existence of before he came into the race as an unknown in 1990 and upset incumbent Executive Dennis F. Rasmussen.

"Roger has no club," said Wayne R. Harman, director of the Department of Recreation and Parks under Mr. Hayden. "He doesn't have that political network. He's a private citizen trying to get a job. He looks great, looks fine. He's got no bitterness."

Past county executives have come from the ranks of professional politicians and have used those ties to find work after leaving office.

For example, Mr. Rasmussen has made much more money as a lobbyist in Annapolis than he did as county executive or as a state legislator. Donald P. Hutchinson, executive from 1978 to 1986, worked briefly as Democratic Party chairman after leaving office and now heads the Greater Baltimore Committee.

Mr. Harman, former personnel director Richard N. Holloway and Frank W. Welsh, former director of community development, said they have seen or spoken to Mr. Hayden since he left office. They said he seemed upbeat and energetic and is hustling to find the right job or business deal for himself. "He's trying all over the place," Mr. Welsh said.

Like their former boss, all are searching for jobs.

Despite the charges of gutter campaigning Mr. Hayden directed at him in November, Mr. Ruppersberger said he wished the former executive well. "I hoped he could gain employment right away and use his four years' experience to help me," the new executive said. The two last spoke Jan. 20 at the dedication of the new Towson District Court building, Mr. Ruppersberger said.

Mr. Hayden, who got a late start campaigning last year after brain surgery in May, also created a stir when he left office by taking a $23,383 final paycheck, which he initially claimed as unused vacation.

Although he's never spoken about his action, other county officials said the money was the remainder of his full official salary of $100,700 for his final year in office. He had accepted a reduced salary earlier in his term.

Ms. Brockman also got a large final payout, based on 80 days of unused vacation worth $18,891.

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