After reading The Sun's story on Fred Homan being pushed into retirement after 40 years as a key Baltimore County official (“Top Balto. Co. administrator to go," Nov. 16), my reaction was different than those of some who have clashed with Fred over the years. As a reporter from the Evening Sun and later The Sun who wrote about Baltimore County government over a 21-year period (1977-'98), I always liked Fred.
He is a big guy, often gruff, and very direct, which can be intimidating, but I always found him to be fair and with a good sense of humor. I fondly recall his time as county budget director when I would walk into his domain and spend a while perusing budget requests from the various departments stacked on a table, often coming away with a few good news stories.
If I had questions, Fred was available and provided straight answers, as did others in his office and throughout county government. It was a time when I could get virtually any county employee on the phone or to speak in person — before local government officials began having public relations spokespeople fend off the press.
It was a different time, I guess. I worked from an office across the street from the courthouse, and I was around every day and some evenings. Things aren't like that anymore, which is too bad.
I'm retired now, and I love it. I hope Fred will too. He's certainly earned a rest.