George Perdikakis, who was a longtime official in the Baltimore City government, has been named to head Baltimore County's Department of Environment and Resource Management.
Mr. Perdikakis -- who formerly headed the Maryland Environmental Service, and was responsible for its burying the long-burning Granite stump-dump blaze -- will be paid $20,800 more than the current director receives.
A 47-year-old resident of Abingdon in Harford County, Mr. Perdikakis will replace J. James Dieter, a 25-year county official who has run the department since Feb. 1991. Mr. Dieter will become a deputy director of planning, and will keep his $71,705 salary.
Mr. Perdikakis joined the city government as a civil engineer in 1972, fresh out of college. He said the focus of his career began to change after he earned a master's degree in environmental engineering from Johns Hopkins University in 1981.
He stayed with the city until 1987. He left as director of its transportation department to become director of the Maryland Environmental Service, and last year entered private business.
County Executive C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger III said his new environmental chief will be paid $92,500 -- which Mr. Perdikakis said represents a $10,000 pay cut from his salary in working the last nine months for KCI Technologies Inc.
Mr. Ruppersberger said he chose Mr. Perdikakis because "he's aggressive, a very high-energy individual -- progressive." He said he wants his new director, who starts July 17, to review the county's efforts to make sure there is no duplication of state or federal activities.
But Mr. Perdikakis noted, "My main goal is to protect the natural resources of Baltimore County."
County Council Chairman Vincent J. Gardina, a Perry Hall Democrat, praised the performance of the departing Mr. Dieter in a job that can be "real sensitive" -- a reference to the sometimes competing interests of conservation and business.
Roz Roddy, former president of the Greater Patapsco Community Association, recalled that Mr. Perdikakis "did what he said he was going to do" in putting out the smoky stump dump fire.
The environmental service, a private, nonprofit agency, buried the smoldering five-acre blaze of tree stumps with more than 100,000 cubic yards of earth, at a cost of $700,000.