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-Gonzalez

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

  1. 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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Josh Kurtz
Co-founder and Editor Josh Kurtz is the leading chronicler of Maryland politics and government. He began covering the State House in 1995 for The Gazette newspapers, and has been writing about state and local politics ever since. He later became an editor at Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, and spent eight years at E&E News, an online subscription-only publisher of news websites covering energy and environmental issues. For seven of those years, he led a staff of 20 reporters at E&E Daily, which covers energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill and in national politics. For 6 1/2 years he wrote a weekly column on state politics for Center Maryland and has written for several other Maryland publications as well. Kurtz has given speeches and appeared on TV and radio shows about Maryland politics through the years.

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