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Former Besche Oil Co. executive John Hartline has been hired as executive director of the Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland, the council announced Wednesday.

A La Plata resident, Hartline held a number of positions with Waldorf-based Besche between 1978 and 2012, most recently as senior vice president, according to a council news release.

He previously has been a member of the Charles County Chamber of Commerce and the Boy Scouts of America, and he taught math at the College of Southern Maryland.

“We are thrilled to have such a skilled and experienced leader join the Southern Maryland Tri-County Council as the Executive Director,” Charles County commissioners’ President Candice Quinn Kelly (D), the council’s chairwoman, said in the release. “John Hartline’s extensive business background is especially important in today’s society. He also has an agricultural background, growing up on a farm as a young man. Agriculture, business, transportation and defense all play important roles in Southern Maryland’s regional economy.”

The hiring closes a nearly year-long search that began with the January dismissal of former executive director Wayne Clark, who had led the council since 2006.

The council’s regional transit coordinator, Elaine J. Lancaster, took over as interim executive director, but made clear from the start that she and her husband planned to move away from Southern Maryland within the year.

Lancaster left the council in late September, Kelly said, adding that she and the council’s remaining staff ran things until Hartline was hired.

“We have an amazing staff, and they really all pitched in to get through this timeframe,” Kelly said. “I’m looking forward to turning a lot of those responsibilities over to [Hartline] and not having to focus on that as much.”

jnewman@somdnews.com