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Cecilia Januszkiewicz, attorney and state budget official, dies

Cecilia Januszkiewicz was one of the first women graduates of Notre Dame University Law School.
Cecilia Januszkiewicz was one of the first women graduates of Notre Dame University Law School.

Cecilia Januszkiewicz, a retired attorney who was a state budget official and Columbia activist, died of neuroendocrine cancer May 29 at her home in Columbia. She was 70.

Born and raised in Steubenville, Ohio, she was the daughter of Frank Januszkiewicz, urban projects director for the City of Steubenville, and his wife, Genevieve Szweda. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Franciscan University and was a graduate of the Notre Dame University Law School, where she was one of the first women graduates.

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She began her legal career as a law clerk to the Judge Richard C. Wilbur of the U.S. Tax Court in Washington, D.C., and became an associate at Piper and Marbury in downtown Baltimore. She later became a partner at Garbis and Schwait and at Melnicove Kaufman Weiner Smouse and Garbis.

She was also an adjunct professor at the University of Baltimore Law School.

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“Cecilia was an extraordinary attorney and public servant who was deeply committed to her community in Columbia,” said a family friend, Court of Special Appeals Judge Stuart Berger. “She had a keen sense of finances and budgetary matters.”

She went on to be budget secretary for the State of Maryland under Gov. Robert Ehrlich.

“She was an invaluable colleague to many, like me, who respected her judgment and valued her impeccable integrity,” Judge Berger said. “One of Cecilia’s many qualities included her gracious smile. One could never be in her company without noticing her infectious smile and, at the same time, smiling right back at her.”

In 1988, Ms Januszkiewicz became an assistant attorney general for the State of Maryland and was assigned as principal counsel to the Maryland Department of Budget and Fiscal Services.

Former Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran said, “Cecilia was a very bright lady. We were so pleased to be able to recruit her to our budget unit. She kept us balanced.”

Mr. Curran also said, “She was well liked, friendly and an outstanding lawyer. I used to kid her, being a Notre Dame graduate, ‘Was she for Maryland or Notre Dame?’ She just smiled back.”

In 2003, Governor Ehrlich appointed Ms. Januszkiewicz as the deputy secretary for the Department of Budget and Management and in 2005 as the secretary of the department.

She was later named a senior fellow at the Free State Foundation, where she focused on Maryland budget issues.

From 2011 to 2014, she served as the deputy state’s attorney for administration with the Baltimore City State’s Attorney Office. There she was responsible for personnel, budget, procurement, technology and facilities. During her tenure as, she had the job of moving 200 employees from multiple locations in the Baltimore City court houses to new space in a commercial office building.

Ms. Januszkiewicz also served as a chief city solicitor for administration for the Baltimore City Solicitor’s Office and as a special projects director for the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.

“Cecilia also shared her wisdom, tenacity, and foresight in service to the community as a member of the Long Reach Village Board in Columbia,” said her son, Theodore Figinski of Washington, D.C. “She was a representative to the Columbia Council from Long Reach. She served for six years on the Long Reach Village Board and was its chair for two years.”

During her tenure with the board, she advocated for the construction of the interchange at Route 175 and Snowden River Parkway. During her term on the Columbia Council, she was one of the principal advocates urging Howard County to purchase what was then the Smith Farm for recreational purposes after the owner died. The county ultimately acquired the property with help from Program Open Space and created what is now Blandair Park.

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A good cook, she enjoyed gathering her siblings and extended family for a Thanksgiving dinner. She also entertained them at her summer home at Bethany Beach, Delaware. Family members said she was a connoisseur of hot fudge sundaes. She preferred the fudge sundaes at the old Obrycki’s crab house in East Baltimore.

“She loved vanilla milkshakes with chocolate syrup, not to be mistaken for chocolate milk shakes,” said her son.

A memorial service is being planned.

In addition to her son, survivors include her husband of 39 years, M. Albert Figinski, also an attorney; four sisters, Maryann Jordan of Pittsburgh, Frances Snyder of North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, Emilia Stephens of Columbia, and Faustyna Fatula of Steubenville, Ohio; a brother, Anthony Januszkiewicz of Wadmalaw Island, South Carolina; and a granddaughter.

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