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Head of Baltimore City social services named to top post in Baltimore County

The head of Baltimore’s Department of Social Services has been named administrative officer for Baltimore County, a top position that oversees day-to-day operations of county government.

Stacy L. Rodgers is the first African-American and second woman to be appointed to the post in Baltimore County. County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. announced his pick Thursday.

“Stacy and I share a vision for where we want to go here in Baltimore County,” Olszewski said at a news conference in Towson.

Rodgers, a former chief of staff at the Social Security Administration, said she was overjoyed to be nominated.

“I’m still pinching myself,” she said.

Former longtime county administrative officer Fred Homan retired at the request of Olszewski in December.

Olszewski’s nomination of Rodgers is subject to County Council confirmation. Rodgers, 58, is scheduled to start the job in April.

Rodgers, who lives in Pikesville, said she sees herself as a problem solver who will work collaboratively with county department heads. She said she is committed to “protecting the public trust and ensuring return on investment of our precious resources.”

She was named director of the Baltimore city’s social services department under Mayor Catherine Pugh in March 2018. Before that, she served as deputy director for program operations at the D.C. Child and Family Services Agency.

At Social Security, Rodgers worked as senior adviser to the deputy commissioner during the Obama administration, as well as chief of staff. She also has held positions at the Maryland Department of Human Services.

“She’s passionate about securing the well-being of those most vulnerable among us, including and especially our young people,” the county executive said.

Rodgers said she sees similarities between herself and Olszewski, who often speaks of growing up in the shadow of the now-shuttered Sparrows Point steel mill. Rodgers grew up in Clairton, Pa., a small steel town outside Pittsburgh.

Her great-grandmother worked as a steelworker during World War II. Rodgers said she cherishes her mill ID badge, which she had in her purse Thursday.

“It keeps me solidly grounded in knowing what it takes to get the job done,” she said.

Rodgers has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Baltimore.

The salary for her position is $240,000, county officials said.

It’s the latest top hire Olszewski has made from Baltimore city government. Staff including his deputy administrative officer, press secretary and human resources director were all Baltimore officials.

Councilman Julian Jones, who served on the search panel for the county administrative officer, said more than 50 people applied.

“Without a doubt, Stacy rose above the crowd,” said Jones, a Woodstock Democrat.

Councilman David Marks said the administrative officer “helps set the culture” for county government.

“I think there’s a general agreement that morale needs to be improved and we need to continue to promote organizational excellence,” said Marks, a Perry Hall Republican.

The last woman to hold the position was Robin Churchill, who was appointed in 1997 by then-County Executive C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger.

alisonk@baltsun.com

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