Concluding a year-and-a-half-long nationwide search, Anne Arundel County and the city of Annapolis selected Matt Fleming as the jurisdiction’s resiliency authority executive director, the county announced Wednesday.
An Annapolis resident and University of Maryland graduate, Fleming previously worked at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources as assistant secretary for aquatic resources. He will lead the authority after racking up more than 25 years of experience in coastal restoration, natural resource management and program administration.
The resilience authority was established last year by the county and city to explore sustainability opportunities and better prepare the area for the effects of climate change.
Fleming will be the authority’s first permanent executive director; Dan Nees has served as interim director since May. Nees and Throwe Environmental LLC, a Rhode Island-based group of climate resilience policy and finance experts, established the foundation for the organization Fleming will now lead, building administrative and leadership structures and developing plans to start the organization out on the right foot.
“This region is at ground zero for our changing climate,” Fleming said in a news release. “We have the opportunity as a community to turn our focus from climate and resilience planning to implementation.”
Maryland Policy & Politics
Fleming also served as director of Maryland’s Coastal Zone Management Program, where he developed a water quality financing program aimed at reducing pollution and oversaw more than $850 million in Chesapeake Bay restoration projects.
He will earn $181,500 in his new position.
“Building communities that are resilient to the impacts of climate change is at the top of our list of priorities in this term,” said Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman.
Pittman won reelection to a second four-year term last month. He has touted the joint resilience authority as a major accomplishment in his first term and promised to seek funding for climate-related projects and use the county’s existing infrastructure to improve its response and resilience to climate change.
Pittman sought $500,000 in last year’s county budget for office and personnel expenses to stand up the authority. This year’s budget includes $1 million to initiate projects to protect private and public infrastructure in the county and city from the effects of climate change, Pittman said.
Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley said he is excited to see what the organization is capable of with Fleming at the helm.
“We couldn’t be more pleased with the appointment of Matt Fleming,” Buckley said. “He’s recognized for his leadership in this issue area and that means he won’t waste a moment getting up to speed on working to meet the needs of our community.”