In a decision influenced by County Executive C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger III, the independent county revenue authority hired one of his top aides, Robert R. Staab, to be its new director of golf operations.
Mr. Staab, a former state legislator and county recreation and parks director, is to assume the $85,000-a-year job Nov. 7. But he has been working on the golf program since August, when the revenue authority took over operation of the Longview, Rocky Point and Diamond Ridge courses.
The appointment was important for the county executive, whose political prestige -- along with millions of dollars -- is on the line. Mr. Ruppersberger sponsored the bill shifting responsibility for the county's public golf program from the government to the revenue authority.
If problems arise, they could hamper Mr. Ruppersberger's plans to use the authority's borrowing power to build golf facilities. Studies have found the county lacking in courses -- an amenity that can attract businesses.
The revenue authority plans to use the $1.1 million in profits generated by the existing courses to help pay for new ones.
A $7.6 million Greystone course is under construction in White Hall, to open in September, and the $6 million Diamond Ridge II is to open in Woodlawn in 1997.
The authority's five-member board voted to hire Mr. Staab at its Oct. 5 meeting, without considering other applicants for the job, board members said.
But William L. Cook, director of Baltimore Municipal Golf Corp. for nearly 10 years, last night confirmed reports that he was offered the job first. Mr. Cook said he was interviewed by authority board Chairman Robert Cannon and George Hale, authority director, and was to begin Sept. 5.
He said he canceled a 20th wedding anniversary trip to take the job only to be told at the last minute the deal was off. "I was a little upset," Mr. Cook said.
Responding to Mr. Cook, David H. Nevins, an authority board member, said, "We feel we resolved the situation quite well for the citizens of Baltimore County -- we were pleased with the outcome."
Mr. Ruppersberger acknowledged recommending Mr. Staab, adding that although the authority is independent of county government, he wants it to "understand and hear my point of view."
Former State Sen. Francis X. Kelly, a new Ruppersberger appointee to the board, said the choice of Mr. Staab was unanimous, based on his experience in recreation.