By Neal Earley @neal_earley
Marc Elrich isn’t in office yet as the new County Executive, but he’s already making changes.
Montgomery County Executive-elect Marc Elrich told the Sentinel that outgoing state senator Richard Madaleno (D-18) will be his nominee for budget director.
Elrich, who will take office Dec. 3, has yet to formally announce most of his new nominees for County departmental positions, but said that Madaleno will be one of his first hires of his administration.
Madaleno, who ran for governor and lost in the Democratic Primary, will take over for Jennifer Hughes, who currently serves as the Director for the Office of Management and Budget. Elrich said he chose Madaleno because of his experience working on budgets in the Maryland Senate.
“He’s considered the smartest person in Annapolis. He’s the guy who understood budgets and numbers, and I think he will be an enormous asset to the County,” Elrich said.
While Madaleno has focused much of his career in the General Assembly concentrating on budgets, serving as the vice chair of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee as well as the Spending Affordability Committee, his best-known legislative achievement was leading the effort to legalize same-sex marriage in Maryland.
In 2012, the General Assembly passed a law legalizing same-sex marriage, which was signed by then-Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) and eventually approved by voters via a referendum.
Madaleno is one of the dozens of members of Elrich’s transition team.
Last week Elrich announced that Andrew Kleine, former budget director for the City of Baltimore, will be his nominee for Chief Administrative Officer for Montgomery County. The CAO for Montgomery County serves as the County Executive’s main right-hand man, ensuring policies are implemented and the County is managed in the right way.
Kleine will replace outgoing CAO Timothy Firestine, who is the highest-paid employee in Montgomery County.
For 10 years, Kleine served as Baltimore’s budget director, but resigned after clashes with the Baltimore City Council. Kleine has styled himself as prudent fiscal manager, calling himself a national leader in “long-term financial planning, Lean Government, and pension and health benefit reform,” in his biography.
“I am honored to be Marc’s nominee for Chief Administrative Officer,” Kleine said. “I have been a resident of Montgomery County for half of my life, and I’m excited to get to work helping lead County government at a time of great change and opportunity.”
Kleine began his post in Baltimore in 2008, shortly before the 2009 recession, and helped led the City’s financial management through the economic crisis. Elrich, who was endorsed by the Democratic Socialists of America, Metro DC Chapter, said Kleine’s fiscal conservatism appealed to him and is part of the reason he plans to nominate him as CAO, part of his plan to include voices that differ from his own in his administration.
Before his work in Baltimore, Kleine spent 15 years working on budgets for the federal government, serving in the Department of Transportation, the White House Office of Management and Budget, and the Corporation for National and Community Service.
“I know that he is more fiscally conservative than my instincts might be, and I think that is a good thing,” Elrich said. “I decided early on that I would not surround myself with mirrors – because mirrors lie.”
Both Kleine and Madaleno will need to be approved by the County Council before they can take up their new positions.
While Elrich has proposed new expensive programs like expanding early childhood education and the Bus Rapid Transit system on MD-355 and Veirs Mill Road, he said tax increases are not a part of the plan, meaning the County needs to find new ways to find additional revenue sources. Elrich said he plans to restructure the County government to make it run more efficiently, saying that doing so will help pay for the new programs he proposes without needing to raise taxes.