Anne Arundel County Executive-elect Steuart Pittman: 'We are going to get moving quickly'

Chase Cook
Contact Reporterccook@capgaznews.com

About 12 hours after his victory over Steve Schuh, County Executive-elect Steuart Pittman said he will move quickly to establish his administration.

He better. The incoming county executive has less than 30 days to set up a transition team, put staffing in place and establish his administration. Pittman will be sworn in — alongside the new Democratic and women majority County Council — on Dec. 3. The council was previously all men.

On Wednesday, Pittman named former County Executive Janet Owens and County Councilman Chris Trumbauer as co-chairs of his transition team. They will oversee the staff that takes Anne Arundel County from the Schuh era to the Pittman era.

Owens and Trumbauer have experience and leadership in the county, making it easier to bridge the gap between administrations, Pittman said.

“I’m all about the next 30 days,” Pittman said. “There is not much time. We are going to get moving quickly.”

The campaign plans to put up an online form to get ideas and applications for the transition.

Pittman defeated incumbent Republican Steve Schuh Tuesday with 52 percent of the vote.

The co-chairs were put together a few days before the election. Pittman met with Owens and Trumbauer Wednesday to discuss the transition.

Trumbauer didn’t run for delegate or Senate as his eight-year council term comes to a close. His term ends on Dec. 3 though there are no more council meetings in November. He talked publicly about wanting to spend more time with his family and continue his full-time job.

But that changed when he got a call from Pittman. He plans to use his experience as a council member to smooth the transition. Trumbauer’s candidate committee donated $1,500 to Pittman’s campaign.

“I’m so excited for Steuart that I couldn’t say no,” Trumbauer said.

Owens echoed Trumbauer’s “couldn’t say no” comment. She also said she hopes to leverage her experience as a county executive during the transition.

“Despite my husband and family’s reservations about this, I said I would do everything I could to help Steuart with the transition,” Owens said. “As a wise man once said to me right after I was elected, ‘Well, Janet, you now have one job, and that is to worry about all the people all the time.’ That’s something I want to get across to Steuart.”

Pittman proposed slower development and increased spending on public safety officers and teachers during the campaign. His victory is still fresh so no staffing decisions have been made, Pittman said.

But one of the most pressing questions will be the status of Police Chief Timothy Altomare and Fire Chief Allan Graves.

Altomare did not donate to either campaign. Graves donated $1,100 to Schuh’s campaign in 2017.

Pittman said he has not made a decision on those leadership positions.

Another looming leadership position is the county planner, Phil Hager. Pittman and Hager have worked closely together on the Agriculture Farming and Agritourism Commission. But Hager is also the department head of the Office of Planning and Zoning. Pittman’s anti-development stance could lead to a change at the position.

Like many other decisions before him, Pittman hasn’t decided yet.

The Democrat’s victory was sealed Tuesday night after about half the precincts reported. Pittman took his 4 percentage point lead and maintained it throughout the night because of strong early voting numbers.

Pittman received about 11,000 more early votes than Schuh, who had better numbers on Election Day. But it wasn’t enough to overcome the early vote numbers.

At his party Tuesday, Schuh was confident until the end, but concerned about the turnout in some of his key districts like Severna Park and Pasadena.

“We came up a little short, I’m afraid to tell you. We worked so hard we did a great job and we did the best we could do,” Schuh said during his concession speech. “Sometimes things just don’t go your way. I just hung up the phone with Steuart Pittman congratulating him. I assured him we would do everything we could to do help him in the transition.”

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