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Government & Politics

Elrich Kicks Off MoCo Transition Process: ‘Not the Usual Suspects’

Montgomery County Executive-elect Marc B. Elrich (D) addresses his sizable transition team Tuesday as Andrew Kleine, the county’s incoming chief administrative officer looks on. Photo by Josh Kurtz

There’s a fine line between inclusive and an unruly mob. But somehow Montgomery County Executive-elect Marc B. Elrich (D) and his top lieutenants managed to keep things orderly at the first meeting of his transition team Tuesday.

Elrich’s team is about 180 strong – a diverse array of politicians, operatives, civic leaders, community activists, small business owners and lawyers. Most were on hand for the inaugural meeting at the East County Community Center in Silver Spring.

“Not the usual suspects,” Elrich observed as he looked around the room.

Elrich, cast occasionally as the lonely, thoroughly unconventional progressive throughout his long political career, was met with a standing ovation as he addressed the group, and began with humility and gratitude.

“This election was about how we move things forward,” he said. “No executive can do it by himself.”

Elrich, a three-term County Council member, thanked the transition team members for making the journey with him.

“You can be a good county – you can be a really good county,” he said. “But that doesn’t mean you’ve reached the end of the road. We still have a long way to travel.”

Elrich praised his predecessor, three-term Executive Isiah Leggett (D), for providing a “strong foundation,” and offered assurances that he would run the county, as Leggett has, in a fiscally responsible way.

“I was very careful not to run on a Christmas tree platform,” he said, but added that fiscal prudence shouldn’t be a bar to innovation. “The county government is going to be fiscally responsible and a force for dynamic change.”

One reform Elrich is promoting: Two-year budgets, which would give county officials an opportunity to see what programs are working.

Elrich said that everything he does will be guided by the quest for “equity” – erasing “decades of sexism and racism.”

With that, he introduced Andrew Kleine, the former Baltimore City budget director who Elrich has tapped to be his chief administrative officer and is also heading the transition.

“I know that Andrew has the kind of social conscience and heart that’s important to me,” Elrich said. “I know he’s more fiscally conservative than my instincts, but that’s a good thing. I don’t want to surround myself with mirrors. Mirrors tend to lie. You see what you want to see.”

Kleine outlined the process – the transition team was splitting into seven groups and would hold three sessions before issuing reports and battle plans for Elrich to achieve his top goals.

“This transition period is incredibly tight – 26 days with Thanksgiving in the middle,” he said.

For three hours, the transition team’s working groups met in spirited sessions, outlining the challenges the county faces, the things in the county to be valued, and ways to make things better.

MoCo easier commutes

Some of the work of the “easier commutes” workgroup of the Elrich transition team Tuesday. Photo by Josh Kurtz

The working groups are:

  • Thriving Youth and Families
  • A Growing Economy
  • A Greener County
  • Easier Commutes
  • A More Affordable and Welcoming County
  • Safe Neighborhoods
  • Effective, Sustainable Government

“I love how [Elrich] is doing this,” said Shruti Bhatnagar, a transition team member and longtime civic and community activist. “I love that it’s so diverse. I love that he’s bringing people from the community together.”

In an interview, Kleine said he and other Elrich aides were talking to Leggett’s department heads and others interested in serving in top positions over the next couple of weeks and hoped to have hiring announcements soon.

“We’re not looking to clean house,” he said.

Here are the members of the transition team:

Bruce Adams
Saman Qadeer Ahmad
Tufail Ahmad
Saqib Ali
Girma Allaro
Gina Angiola
Joanne Antoinne
Jud Ashman
Bruce Baker
Marilyn Balcombe
Fatmata Barrie
Mayra Bayonet
Mark Bergel
Roger Berliner
Marielsa Bernard
Eric Bernard
Kevin Beverly
Shruti Bhatnagar
Marla Bilonick
Elaine Binder
Lee Blinder
Alan Bowser
Gordon Brenne
John Brill
Brandy Brooks
Heather Bruskin
Diane Cameron
Luis Cardona
Lee Chong
Kathleen Connor
Bill Conway
Diana Conway
Hoan Dang
Kristy Daphnis
Jackie DeCarlo
Victor del Pino
Frank Demarais
Jim Driscoll
Fred Ducca
Susan Eisendrath
Peter Ettinger
Natali Fani-González
Leila Finucane
Warren Fleming
Terry Forde
Ron Franks
Bill Frick
Sharon Friedman
Kit Gage
Ronnie Galvin
Oscar Giron
Barbara Goldberg Goldman
Rob Goldman
Mike Goldman
Brady Goldsmith
Maria Gomez
Pat Grant
Mike Gravitz
Lauren Greenberger
Amilcar Guzman
Julian Haffner
Ron Halber
Neil Harris
Rich Harris
Tony Hausner
Wendy Hestick
Austin Heyman
Toni Holness
Wendy Howard
Brigid Howe
Song Hutchins
Claire Iseli
Kim Jones
Shyam Kannan
April Kaplan
Evelyn Kelly
Shafiq Khan
Hamza Khan
Andrew Kleine
Joan Kleinman
Alison Klumpp
Gerrit Knaap
Peter Kovar
Deborah Lambert
Carmen Larsen
Omar Lazo
Phil Lee
Greg LeRoy
Cara Lesser
George Leventhal
Diane Lill
Michael Lin
Trevor Lobaugh
Erika Lopez-Finn
Lindsey Lucas
Pam Luckett
Adam Luecking
Lesley MacDonald
Nagender Madavaram
Caren Madsen
Juan Maldonado
Veronique Marier
Edamarie Mattei
Ann Mazur
Alicia Jones McLeod
Bruce Meier
Danielle Meitiv
Lori Melman
Kathy Michels
Abbe Milstein
Marice Morales
Zorayda Moreira-Smith
Peter Myo Khin
Rajan Natarajan
Sayed Naved
Bridget Newton
Joy Nurmi
Aryani Ong
Jill Ortman-Fouse
BB Otero
Chung Pak
Jayne Park
Daniel Parra
Perry Paylor
Myrna Peralta
Linda Plummer
DeRionne Pollard
Elisha Pulivarti
Harriet Quinn
Sanjay Rai
Gino Renne
Vernon Ricks
Grace Rivera
Brian Roberts
Shane Rock
Carmen Rojas
Jeff Rosenberg
Ben Ross
Fran Rothstein
Ruby Rubens
Crystal Brockington Sallee
Pofen Salem
Martha Sanchez
Peggy Sand
Mehmet Saracoglu
Neel Saxena
Laurie Anne Sayles
Sunny Schnitzer
Abe Schuchman
Michael Sesma
Devang Shah
Ash Shetty
Chuck Short
Susie Sinclair Smith
Jeffrey Slavin
Maritza Solano
Debbie Spielberg
Sam Statland
Kate Stewart
Laura Stewart
Mike Subin
Rick Sullivan
Tricia Swanson
Ananya Tadikonda
Ivo Tasong
Caroline Taylor
Marie Taylor
Herman Taylor
Dale Tibbitts
Gustavo Torres
Crystal Townsend
Diego Uriburu
Juan Pablo Vacatello
Diane Vu
Tiffany Ward
Timothy Warner
Mitch Warren
Francine Waters
Jeff Weisner
Vic Weissberg
Meredith Wellington
Elijah Wheeler
Chris Wilhelm
Arthur Williams
Greg Wims
Sarah Wolek
Beth Wong
Ron Wright
Maya Zegarra

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Elrich Kicks Off MoCo Transition Process: ‘Not the Usual Suspects’