Howard County Executive-elect Allan Kittleman on Wednesday announced the remaining 12 members of his transition team and discussed their task as he prepares to take office Dec. 1.
Ten of the 12 team members have been assigned to lead a specialized committee that will evaluate a specific area within the county government. The other two team members will co-lead one committee.
Team members are:
- Cole Schnorf: Planning and Zoning and Licensing and Permits
- Sharonlee Vogel and Chip Lundy: Public Works
- Chip Doetsch: the County Administration
- Ananta Heejebu: Technology, Communications and Cable
- Rachael Mull: the Howard County Economic Development Authority
- Angel Cartagena: Citizen Services
- Janet Cornick: Education, Library and Howard Community College
- Jean Parker: Recreation and Parks
- Andrea Ingram: Housing
- Ron Carlson: Health, Mental Health and Social Services
- David Steele: Public Safety
- Columbia attorney Michael Davis
Kittleman said on Wednesday that he looked for team members he trusts and are involved in the community. He said he doesn't anticipate sweeping changes and turnover throughout county government.
"There will be a few changes, but not that much dramatic," Kittleman said. "I don't think you're going to see me walking in and completely sweeping out everybody."
He added: "I ran a campaign not on changing Howard County, but improving it. I'm looking forward to continuing some of the policies the previous administration did that are working well, and also looking to see where we could make some changes."
Kittleman said he has been made aware some people leaving on their own accord, namely Marsha McLaughlin, the county's director of Planning and Zoning, and Fire Chief William Goddard.
Kittleman has been critical of the county's Department of Planning and Zoning. At an August town hall in Glenwood, he charged that "the leadership of the county has allowed the Department of Planning and Zoning to be controlled by a few people."
"There are areas that there are already going to be openings where we are going to have to look at," he said.
Columbia attorney Michael Davis, who Kittleman announced last week will lead the team, said members would look at "strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats" across the county's departments.
"It's basically a risks assessment," he said of the task.
Davis said the team hopes to have most of the meetings completed by mid-December, with a final report coming in mid-January.
"It's aggressive, but considering Allan takes office on [Dec. 1], it's a very short turnaround, so we really need to get as much information as possible," he said.
Davis, a senior partner at the Columbia law firm Davis, Agnor, Rapaport & Skalny, chaired a transition team for Howard County's first Republican executive, Charles Ecker, when Ecker was elected in 1990. He also served as a member on the 2006 transition team for departing County Executive Ken Ulman, a Democrat.
David said the team's work would likely be different than it was in 1990.
"In 1990, when Chuck Ecker won, there was a lot of frustration in the community over how the government was operating," he said. "The community was much more up in the air as to various issues. Prior to this election, most of the community was pretty happy with where we were."
But, he added, "there are still challenges to be met."
One key task for the transition team will be the Department of Citizen Services, which includes the county's Office on Aging. During his campaign, Kittleman promised to turn the office into its own Department of Aging, in recognition of the importance of planning for the county's growing senior population.
Kittleman said he met with Ulman on Tuesday at the county's headquarters, which were closed for Veterans Day. He said they took a tour of the building and spoke about the state of the county.
"He was very candid, which I appreciated, and he was very sincerely interested in helping me have a smooth transition," he said. "I think he's done a fine job of representing the people of Howard County, and I appreciate the fact he is willing to help me as I transition in."