By Adam Pagnucco.
Chief Administrative Officer Andrew Kleine, who admitted to two ethics violations and attempted to cure them through a $5,000 payment and other remedies, has resigned. County Executive Marc Elrich has announced that former State Senator and current budget director Rich Madaleno will succeed him subject to confirmation by the county council.
Originally, Kleine was set to remain in his position. Bethesda Beat reported this on July 7:
County Executive Marc Elrich, in a statement to Bethesda Beat on Monday, wrote that Kleine is a “committed public servant” and that the CAO’s agreement with the Ethics Commission “resolves the matter.”
“Andrew has acknowledged that his actions were an error in judgment and has accepted responsibility for his actions,” he wrote. “I appreciate that Andrew has cooperated with the Ethics Commission’s investigation from the very beginning to resolve this situation.”
But the matter was far from resolved. On July 28, the county council discussed the ethics report and erupted with fury. Multiple council members vowed to obtain more information about the issue, guaranteeing that it would not die as long as Kleine remained. That forced Elrich’s hand and resulted in today’s announcement, the first resignation of a MoCo Chief Administrative Officer due to ethics issues that anyone can remember.
Elrich’s press release appears below. If there is a severance package, the release does not mention it.
County Executive Marc Elrich Nominates Budget Director Rich Madaleno to Serve as New Chief Administrative Officer Following Andrew Kleine’s Resignation
For Immediate Release: Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020
County Executive Marc Elrich today announced that he will nominate Richard Madaleno as the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) for Montgomery County. Madaleno’s nomination follows the resignation of Andrew Kleine, who has served a CAO for the first 20 months of the Elrich Administration. Madaleno will begin serving as acting CAO on Aug. 16.
County Executive Elrich expressed appreciation for Kleine’s many contributions to the County Government. “During his time as CAO, Andrew Kleine led the County Government’s effort to reorganize services ranging from public safety to technology services,” said Elrich. “He championed a Turn the Curve initiative to empower County employees to rethink and improve the delivery of services to our million-plus residents. Over the past five months, he has played a critical role in our community’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. I thank him for his many contributions and wish him well in future endeavors.”
Madaleno, who is serving as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, is a lifelong Montgomery County resident. He has spent his career serving the people of the County in leadership roles at the County and the State levels and had a long career as an elected representative for Montgomery County in the Maryland General Assembly. He served from 2003-2007 in the Maryland House of Delegates and from 2007 to 2019 as a State Senator representing District 18. While in the Senate, Madaleno was the Vice Chair of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee where he was known for his ability to find solutions to some of the most challenging budget problems facing the state. He was a leader in education reform serving on the Kirwan Commission. Madaleno also worked in the County’s Office of Intergovernmental Relations from 1995 to 2002.
“Rich is trusted by community groups and policymakers throughout the County and State for his leadership skills and budgeting acumen, which will serve the County well as we face the most significant challenges of our generation,” said Elrich. “I am confident that his experience and expertise will help my administration deliver on my promise to build a healthy, well-functioning, innovative, equitable and inclusive community for all of our residents.”
The County Executive’s CAO nomination must be approved by the Montgomery County Council. Councilmembers are scheduled to return from their summer recess in Sept.