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County Executive Leopold Adds Inspectors to Strengthen Environmental Enforcement

Annapolis, MD (January 29, 2007) - In a clear demonstration of his commitment to strengthen environmental enforcement, Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold announced today that he is lifting the hiring freeze for inspectors within the Department of Inspections and Permits, effective immediately.

"I am deeply concerned at the number of environmental violations that occur in this County," said Mr. Leopold. "Anything we can do to take a more proactive approach needs to be done, and I am committed to providing the staff to accomplish this," the County Executive added.

Betty Dixon, the newly appointed Director of Inspections and Permits, has committed to meeting the goals set out by the County Executive. In order to accomplish this task, six inspector positions will be filled.

In addition to filling the vacancies, County Executive Leopold, upon the recommendation of Ms. Dixon, approved the reorganization of the Department to include a Compliance Division. Mr. Robert Winchester will head up this new Division that will include a Field Supervisor. Besides the critical area inspections, this new Division will also contain the Reforestation Program that has been transferred to Inspections and Permits from the former Land Use and Environment Office. This new Division will be responsible for investigating all non-permitted complaints, including building and grading as well as critical areas, and will follow each violation from citation through referral to the Law Office.

County Executive Leopold also announced the creation of an incentive program that will reward inspectors who report work being done without the proper permits that they see during their normal routes.

In addition to these internal changes, Ms. Dixon will also be exploring the untapped work pool in our local high schools as well as the Anne Arundel Community College. This will take a cooperative effort between the Department of Inspections and Permits, the Personnel Office, the Board of Education and the Community College. "We need to address the number of retiring inspectors in a more innovative way. I believe tapping the student pool to train young people will provide a good source of future manpower," said Ms. Dixon.


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