Calvert County officials announced a realignment of local governmental structure earlier this month.
In what it called a “minor reorganization,” the change combines the departments of general services and public works. It also results in the directors of all 11 departments, plus the county attorney, reporting to county administrator Mark Willis.
Combining the departments of general services and public works — under the direction of Kerry Dull, who was director of public works — will save about $180,000 in salaries and benefits, Willis said.
Commission President Kelly D. McConkey (R) said the two departments go hand-in-hand with each other.
Tom Jones, who had been division chief of buildings and grounds in the general services department, is now the deputy director of general services. In addition to overseeing general services, Jones will be in charge of the division of fleet maintenance, which had been in the public works department.
Jones reports to Dull, who began Feb. 3 as director of general services, replacing Wilson Freeland, and subsequently moved over to become public works director on May 5, replacing Rai Sharma.
Willis said that five departments — technology services, finance and budget, human resources, general services and communications — previously reported to the deputy county administrator, but that changed when Wilson Parran retired and was replaced by communications director Linda Vassallo on July 1.
The previous structure had five departments reporting to Parran after he was hired as the county’s first deputy director in January 2017.
“Wilson was kind of on his own program to retire. I wasn’t going to change things the last [several months that he was here],” Willis said, calling Parran “one my greatest mentors.”
“The difference for me is, I didn’t like that I didn’t have day-to-day communication with five directors,” said Willis, who took over as county administrator Jan. 3 when Terry Shannon retired. “I was out of the loop unless something bad happened.”
Referring to his 20 years in the Marine Corps, Willis said, “When you’re in charge, you’re in charge. I’m responsible for the actions of all 12 directors. I think I owe it to them to communicate with them on a daily basis.”
Willis said he doesn’t just encourage department directors to speak up, he demands it. “They have to be open with me,” he said.
Willis said that the reorganization will require Vassallo to communicate with each of the 12 directors as well, thus requiring her to learn the entire county hierarchy.
“It prepares Linda to replace me, if that’s what the county commissioners want,” he said.
That might be a while though. Earlier this year, Willis said he wants each of the county’s seven town centers to have new master plans before he retires.