Ol­szewski sworn in as Bal­ti­more County Ex­ec­u­tive

The Avenue News - - FRONT PAGE - By: GIANNA DECARLO gde­[email protected]­pub.com

On Mon­day, De­cem­ber 3, Demo­crat John “Johnny O” Ol­szewski, Jr. was sworn in as Bal­ti­more County’s four­teenth County Ex­ec­u­tive, kick­ing off what he called a “new era” in Bal­ti­more County.

“The enor­mity of mak­ing the pos­si­ble real be­gins to­day and the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties ahead are not lost on me. I am grate­ful that you are all here as we start this jour­ney to cel­e­brate Bal­ti­more County’s fu­ture, and I am hon­ored to be your Bal­ti­more County Ex­ec­u­tive,” said Ol­szewski dur­ing his in­au­gu­ral re­marks.

In his speech, he said his ad­min­is­tra­tion will be pro­mot­ing leg­is­la­tion and ini­tia­tives that will lead Bal­ti­more County to cre­ate bet­ter schools, eq­ui­table in­vest­ments, an im­proved econ­omy and a more trans­par­ent and re­spon­sive gov­ern­ment.

“We will do it by fac­ing our chal­lenges head-on. Nearly

two decades ago, we cel­e­brated the ar­rival of a GM plant whose clo­sure now threat­ens hun­dreds of our fam­i­lies. In Bal­ti­more County, we to rise to these chal­lenges. When the steel mills closed, our com­mu­ni­ties didn’t give up; we went to work. To­day that com­mu­nity is in the midst of a trans­for­ma­tive resur­gence,” he said. “It wasn’t easy — but we took that chal­lenge on to­gether. We re­lied on the re­siliency of our peo­ple, and we looked to the fu­ture, ad­dress­ing 21st-cen­tury chal­lenges with 21st-cen­tury so­lu­tions. Those 21st-cen­tury so­lu­tions in­clude part­ner­ships with our neigh­bors across the Bal­ti­more re­gion be­cause ju­ris­dic­tional lines are just that: lines on a map. We rise and we fall to­gether.

He said his ex­pe­ri­ences be­ing raised in Dun­dalk, in the shadow on Beth­le­hem Steel site, and work­ing as a pub­lic school teacher mo­ti­vated him to run for of­fice and had laid the foun­da­tion to the cam­paign his started two years ago.

As County Ex­ec­u­tive, Ol­szewski said he wants all res­i­dents of Bal­ti­more County to have ac­cess the op­por­tu­ni­ties he had grow­ing up, re­gard­less of their back­ground.

In the next four years, he ex­plained that he hopes to im­prove ag­ing schools in the County and achieve eco­nomic sta­bil­ity and se­cu­rity by lev­er­ag­ing an­chor in­sti­tu­tions and job cen­ters to cre­ate jobs that uti­lize and re­tain lo­cal tal­ent while ex­pand­ing ac­cess to Pre-K and com­mu­nity col­lege.

Just hours after he was sworn in, Ol­szweski signed an ex­ec­u­tive or­der es­tab­lish­ing blue rib­bon com­mis­sion to ex­am­ine the County bud­get process and rec­om­mend changes to im­prove fis­cal sus­tain­abil­ity, while iden­ti­fy­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for en­hanced trans­parency and in­creased pub­lic en­gage­ment in the bud­get­ing process.

Also in the up­com­ing week, he hopes to meet with the Di­rec­tors of Bud­get and Of­fice of In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy to ex­e­cute a plan to re­lease bud­get in­for­ma­tion on­line for County res­i­dents to re­view and con­sider along with work­ing with County Coun­cil mem­bers in or­der to set up cabi­net in the com­mu­nity meet­ings with his staff.

“These are just the first steps to­ward ful­fill­ing the vi­sion we laid out. There is so much to do. And I could not be more ex­cited to get to work.”

Ol­szewski also thanked out­go­ing County Ex­ec­u­tive Don Mohler for “step­ping into un­known cir­cum­stances and lead­ing with your heart” fol­low­ing the death of Kevin Kamenetz ear­lier this year.

Mohler said he was happy to pass the job to Ol­szewski, say­ing that they had worked to­gether years ago.

“He had a vi­sion and a way of an­a­lyz­ing is­sues that has just got­ten stronger and stronger and stronger over the years,” said Mohler. “He saw it all the way back then. He is a man who has his val­ues in or­der. He is sim­ply good peo­ple.”

The County Coun­cil mem­bers sworn-in in­cluded in­cum­bents 5th Dis­trict Coun­cil­man David Marks (R), 6th Dis­trict Coun­cil­woman Cathy Bevins (D), and 7th Dis­trict Coun­cil­man Todd Crandell (R).

Other mem­bers sworn into the Bal­ti­more County gov­ern­ment were Judges of the Cir­cuit Court, Carey Dee­ley, Michael Finifter, Ruth Jakubowski and Den­nis Robin­son, the Judges of the Or­phans Court, Wil­liam Evans, Juliet Fisher and Arthur Frank, Sher­iff R. Jay Fisher, Reg­is­ter of Wills Grace Con­nolly, and mem­bers of the Board of Ed­u­ca­tion Kath­leen S. Causey, Roger B. Hay­den, Julie C. Henn, Moalie S. Jose, Rus­sell T. Kuehn, Lisa A. Mack, Rod McMil­lion, John H. Of­fer­man Jr., Ch­eryl E. Pas­teur, Lily P. Rowe and Makeda Scott.

“How fit­ting that we are all sworn in to­gether?” said Ol­szewski. “Fit­ting be­cause we’re all on the same team and be­cause the chal­lenges we face must be tack­led by each and ev­ery one of us work­ing col­lec­tively and in part­ner­ship. To­gether, we will never put par­ti­san­ship, or pride, ahead of progress for our peo­ple.”

The in­au­gu­ral cer­e­monies took place at Tow­son Univer­sity’s SECU Arena.

PHO­TOS COUR­TESY OF BAL­TI­MORE COUNTY

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