County pre­pares for gov­ern­ment tran­si­tion

County girls’ bas­ket­ball pre­views Of­fi­cials to be sworn in to­day

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By CHERYL MATTIX

cmat­tix@ce­cil­whig.com

— County Ex­ec­u­tive-elect Alan McCarthy is wrap­ping up the first true tran­si­tion from one county ex­ec­u­tive to another in county his­tory as he pre­pares for his in­au­gu­ra­tion to­day at noon.

McCarthy, who will be­come the county’s sec­ond county ex­ec­u­tive un­der char­ter gov­ern­ment and the

ELKTON

first man to hold the post, has been in con­stant mo­tion since his elec­tion Nov. 8.

Much like the pres­i­den­tial tran­si­tion be­tween Pres­i­dent Barack Obama and Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump, there has been a lot of be­hind-the-scenes work over the past months and weeks to pre­pare for a change in lead­er­ship. In McCarthy’s case, the past 27 days have been es­pe­cially busy as hun­dreds of pol­icy and per­son­nel de­ci­sions have to be made so he can hit the ground run­ning.

“It’s a new day and a new way,” McCarthy likes to say about his ad­min­is­tra­tion, but so far, he’s been keep­ing his plans close to the vest.

“No de­ci­sions are firm yet,” he said Fri­day, although he ad­mits he is still con­sid­er­ing pos­si­ble per­son­nel changes, and, or, de­part­men­tal con­sol­i­da­tions. “I want to be clear that all my de­ci­sions will be what’s best for the peo­ple of Ce­cil County.”

Di­rec­tor of In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy Scott Mes­neak

was dis­missed Fri­day.

“I was out of my of­fice by 8:30 a.m.,” he said, ver­i­fy­ing the dis­missal.

Mes­neak said he be­lieved others were dis­missed Fri­day also, but he couldn’t ver­ify who.

More per­son­nel changes may be an­nounced Tues­day when the county coun­cil con­venes for a work ses­sion at 9 a.m. and a leg­isla­tive meet­ing at 7 p.m. In­tro­duc­tion of ex­ec­u­tive ap­point­ments is one of the agenda items.

McCarthy hopes to tap a group of vol­un­teers with di­verse back­grounds, which he calls an im­ple­men­ta­tion group, to as­sess pros and cons of a po­ten­tial con­sol­i­da­tion once he takes of­fice Mon­day.

Even though McCarthy started pre­par­ing for the pos­si­bil­ity of serv­ing as county ex­ec­u­tive af­ter the pri­mary elec­tion, his prepa­ra­tions jumped up a notch af­ter se­cur­ing the job Nov. 8.

“I’ve been meet­ing with many of the depart­ment heads in re­cent weeks to learn in­for­ma­tion about their jobs and to share my views and vi­sion for the

county with them,” McCarthy said, not­ing he’s par­tic­u­larly fo­cused on the county bud­get. “I’ve been learn­ing how much of the bud­get is ac­tu­ally dis­cre­tionary and I’ve dis­cov­ered that this gov­ern­ment is al­ready fairly ‘mean and lean.’”

While not a real sur­prise, McCarthy said this knowl­edge sup­ports his pri­mary goal as county ex­ec­u­tive, which is to in­crease county rev­enues and cre­ate jobs.

“This will take time,” he cau­tions.

McCarthy has also been do­ing home­work by talk­ing with county ex­ec­u­tives in coun­ties such as Har­ford and Howard, to learn about their op­er­a­tions and chal­lenges. Har­ford County Ex­ec­u­tive Barry Glass­man has been a sup­porter of McCarthy’s and was present at his vic­tory party on Nov. 8.

Out­go­ing County Ex­ec­u­tive Tari Moore has played an in­te­gral part in the tran­si­tion to her suc­ces­sor, as well.

Moore said she ac­tu­ally reached out to McCarthy and Wayne Tome, the Demo­cratic can­di­date, right af­ter the pri­mary elec­tion to fill them in on a cou­ple of de­ci­sions she had made and why.

“It wasn’t much, but it was a start,” she said.

Since the gen­eral elec­tion, Moore has met with McCarthy a few times.

“He’s up-to-date on most is­sues be­cause of serv­ing on the county coun­cil,” she said.

But, Moore re­al­ized she has been work­ing on some is­sues be­hind the scenes, such as help­ing the Lake­side Mo­bile Home com­mu­nity, which she ex­plained to McCarthy.

“He’s try­ing very hard,” she said. “But, un­til you walk the walk, you don’t know ev­ery­thing.”

Moore says one of McCarthy’s big­gest chal­lenges in his first year will be the bud­get.

“Usu­ally, by this time of the year, the bud­get is al­ready in progress, but with a change of ad­min­is­tra­tion it’s go­ing to have a late start,” she said.

While Moore and McCarthy are both Repub­li­cans and share many of the same val­ues, they may not agree on ev­ery is­sue, but both feel the tran­si­tion of power this year will be peace­ful and smooth.

“He has a big chal­lenge ahead, but I feel com­fort­able,” Moore said. “When I be­came county ex­ec­u­tive, there was no one to tran­si­tion from, so this is dif­fer­ent.”

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY BRI­ANNA SHEA

The Grinch may have made an ap­pear­ance, but that didn’t dampen the hol­i­day cheer dur­ing the Ce­cil County Christ­mas Pa­rade on Satur­day.

CE­CIL WHIG FILE PHOTO

Ce­cil County Coun­cil Vice Pres­i­dent Alan McCarthy ad­dresses sup­port­ers in Elkton fol­low­ing his vic­tory in the county ex­ec­u­tive race last month. McCarthy will be sworn in as county ex­ec­u­tive to­day.

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