Two of Howard County Executive Ken Ulman's new hires haven't been publicized, but they are toiling away.
Former campaign manager Arthur E. McGreevy, a former assistant state's attorney in Baltimore County, is now an assistant solicitor in the Howard County Office of Law.
McGreevy, 32, who ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the Baltimore City Council in 2003, will be responsible for legal advice to the county Police Department and on Liquor Board cases. His salary is $99,819.
He replaces Assistant County Solicitor Colby Hall, who held the job for two years after nearly five years as an assistant state's attorney in Howard. Hall's last day in his $74,048 job is Jan. 31. He refused to comment on his departure.
Ulman said McGreevy's seven years as a prosecutor proved to be good preparation for his new job.
Ulman also hired Luis Valdivieso, 26, of Columbia, a member of the county's Human Rights Commission, to be a community liaison on the executive's staff at a salary of $52,146.
Valdivieso, a native of Houston who moved to Maryland three years ago, is doing constituent-services work, though his training is in information technology, he said.
"I just kind of wanted to do something to help out and get involved in the community," he said. "A friend suggested looking at boards and commissions."
Solving problems for frustrated citizens is "a little more rewarding" than technology, he said.
"He's a wonderful young man," Ulman said of Valdivieso.
Ulman said he has expanded the executive staff by two positions, one for Valdivieso and the other for Aaron Greenfield, the new chief of staff, as part of his restructuring of county government.
General Assembly committees often toil in obscurity during the 90-day session, but the committee that legislators serve on is important -- to the senators and delegates and for their home counties.
Howard County's two newest lawmakers -- state Sen.-elect James N. Robey and Del.-elect Guy Guzzone, both Democrats -- said they are pleased with their assignments for the 2007 session, which starts this week.
Robey is on the Budget and Taxation Committee, and Guzzone is on the House Appropriations Committee, along with Howard Dels. Gail H. Bates, a Republican, and Steven J. DeBoy Sr., a Democrat.
"I'm very excited about" the assignment, Robey said, because it will enable him to apply his expertise as a former county executive to helping to craft a state spending plan.
Guzzone said he was flattered with his committee assignment because he considers it "a very big honor for a freshman" to be assigned to appropriations.
Howard Del. Frank S. Turner, a Democrat and veteran member of the House Appropriations Committee, shifted to Ways and Means.
In another move, Howard state Sen. Allan H. Kittleman, a former workers' compensation attorney, moved to the Finance Committee from the Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee. He said he will bring his private legal experience representing employers and insurance companies to a joint oversight subcommittee on workers' compensation issues.
"I think I can bring a balance and some perspective," he said.
Earlier, Howard state Sen. Edward J. Kasemeyer, a Democrat, was chosen Senate majority leader, and Democratic Del. Shane E. Pendergrass became the new deputy majority leader in the House of Delegates.
As reported last week, Howard County Republicans are likely to lose a slew of high-ranking, influential positions in state government with the departure Jan. 17 of Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.
But they are not the only Howard residents in danger of unemployment.
Former Columbia Council member Cecilia Januszkiewicz, a Democrat and 18-year state employee who is Maryland's budget director, also is about to lose her job.
Januszkiewicz said she worked for 15 years as an assistant attorney general in the budget office, moving to become deputy director in 2003. She became director when Ehrlich confidante James C. "Chip" DiPaula Jr. resigned to be the governor's chief of staff.
Gov.-elect Martin O'Malley, a Democrat, announced his choice of T. Eloise Foster to be budget secretary last month. Foster, who held the job before Ehrlich took office, formerly worked with Januszkiewicz.
R. Stevens Cassard Jr. of Ellicott City, who became secretary of the Department of General Services on June 6, is a Democrat and a 25-year state employee, with 18 years at General Services.
"His future has not been determined yet," department spokesman Dave Humphrey said.
Organizing for 2007
Mona Brinegar hasn't given up.
The Ellicott City resident, who tried to organize independent-thinking voters at a series of meetings during the past election campaign but attracted few, is making plans for this year.
First, she wants to hold an event to raise money for her Unaffiliated/Independent Voter Group. She hopes to use the funds to contact registered independents and to start a newsletter to help organize further. Brinegar wants to track and post elected officials' voting records. She has 33 people on her e-mail list.