Anne Arundel, Annapolis begin nationwide search for resilience authority director

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From left, Sen. Chris Van Hollen, County Executive Steuart Pittman, Mayor Gavin Buckley, and Michael Johnson, director of Annapolis Department of Public Works. Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Maryland, Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman and Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley tour City Dock in Annapolis, review planned infrastructure projects that counties like Anne Arundel and cities like Annapolis must undertake due to the impacts of rising sea levels and climate change, Tuesday, August 17, 2021. On Monday the city and county launched a nationwide search for a director to lead their newly formed climate resilience authority that will pay for the infrastructure projects.

Anne Arundel County and Annapolis are conducting a nationwide search for a director to lead their newly formed climate resilience authority.

A job listing was posted on Monday for the position that will serve as the leader of the authority, a semi-governmental body created this summer to oversee and pay for resilience infrastructure projects in Annapolis and Anne Arundel County meant to combat the effects of climate change.


The job would pay between $140,000 and $180,000.

“I know that we’re going to be getting one of the best experts in the country because we’re one of the first” places to establish an authority, said County Executive Steuart Pittman during a Tuesday news conference. “There are people out there who really specialize in this work and are excited to get started.”


The director would serve at the pleasure of the county executive with the concurrence of the mayor and report to a 12-member Board of Directors. The person would be responsible for representing the authority to clients, legislative bodies, community groups, agencies and other external partners and stakeholders.

They would also be responsible for the day-to-day management of the authority, including appointing and supervising a management staff and other employees, according to the job listing.

The county executive will be responsible for appointing nine of the 12 board members. The mayor will select the other three.

Hiring a top resilience expert to run the agency will send a message that the city and county are taking climate change seriously, said Mayor Gavin Buckley.

“And then it’s not just about climate change, it’s about the next (Hurricane) Isabel, or the next catastrophic weather event that if we’re prepared, we’ll avoid millions and millions of dollars of debt,” he said.

Buckley, Pittman and other local officials have acknowledged the city and county on their own don’t have the financial capacity to pay for the infrastructure projects needed to brace the region for climate-related shifts in the coming decades.

Pittman’s administration has promised $500,000 to fund salaries and other expenses to build out the authority’s staff. Buckley’s administration is also expected to provide other resources as the director and other staff is brought on board.

The first project expected to be paid for in part through the authority is the redevelopment of City Dock. The project is in the planning stages with phase one — the demolition and rebuilding of Hillman Garage — set to start next year. Later will come the construction of a sea wall around City Dock and other resilience infrastructure with some areas elevated to combat higher sea levels.


“People are going to be looking to us to see what we do to protect this historic city as the test case,” Buckley said.

This isn’t the first resilience authority to be created in Maryland.

Charles County was the first to take advantage of state legislation passed in 2020 that enabled local governments to incorporate this kind of structure. The Anne Arundel County and Annapolis councils approved legislation this summer establishing the authority’s framework.