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Meet the Executive Branch Staff

Ben Birge

Chief Administrative Officer
Benjamin Birge

Contact

Office of the County Executive

Arundel Center
44 Calvert Street
Annapolis, MD 21401
Ben Birge has spent his career in the public policy arena at all levels of government with particular focus on budget and program management and analysis. Most recently he served as the manager of Prince George’s CountyStat, a team responsible for providing analysis and oversight to ensure county services are operating in an efficient, productive, and cost-effective manner. He has spent time on Capitol Hill and the Maryland State House as a higher education advocate and created numerous databases and workflow improvements as an analyst for the Maryland legislature. He has been civically involved with Anne Arundel County libraries, public schools and the Boy Scouts. He has lived in Anne Arundel County since 1991 and in Odenton since 2001.
 

Jennifer Purcell

Chief of Staff
Jennifer Purcell

Contact

Office of the County Executive

Arundel Center
44 Calvert Street
Annapolis, MD 21401
Jennifer Purcell is responsible for overseeing the County Executive's staff including Constituent Services, Communications and Government Affairs. Prior to joining the administration, Jennifer served as a strategic planning, program development and grant consultant for several non-profit organizations after leaving a faculty position at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.  Jennifer earned her doctorate at the University of South Florida.

Chris Trumbauer

Senior Advisor for Policy and Communications

Contact

Office of the County Executive

Arundel Center
44 Calvert Street
Annapolis, MD 21401
Chris Trumbauer leads communications and policy for the county executive's office. He is a former two-term Anne Arundel county councilmember, representing District 6 (Greater Annapolis). Over the course of his career, Chris has held senior positions in government, the nonprofit arena and the private sector. He was a vice president at a local communications firm and before that was the executive director of a county nonprofit environmental organization. He began his career as a biologist with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. During his time as a county councilmember, he served on Maryland's Critical Area Commission and was a member of the Maryland Association of Counties legislative committee.
 

Janice Hayes Williams

Director of Minority Engagement and Advancement
Janice Hayes Williams

Contact

Office of the County Executive

Arundel Center
44 Calvert Street
Annapolis, MD 21401
(410) 222-1785

Janice Hayes Williams is the former legislative aide for Councilmember Chris Trumbauer and served as the head of Constituent Services for the City of Annapolis. Ms. Hayes Williams is also a renowned local historian.

 
 

Peter Baron

Government Affairs Officer
Peter Baron

Contact

Office of the County Executive

Arundel Center
44 Calvert Street
Annapolis, MD 21401
(410) 222-1226

Peter Baron, Esq., brings nearly 20 years of experience in Maryland local and state government and politics. He is a former legislative director for both the Maryland Hospital Association and the Service Employees International Union, Maryland and DC State Council. He also served as Director of Member Services for Speaker Mike Busch. 

 

Matthew Johnston

Environmental Policy Director

Contact

Office of the County Executive

Arundel Center
44 Calvert Street
Annapolis, MD 21401
(410) 222-1526
Matthew Johnston analyzes environmental and sustainable policies for the County Executive’s Office. He previously served as the Chesapeake Bay Program’s Senior Environmental Policy Analyst where he worked with stakeholders across the Chesapeake Bay watershed to design solutions to combat environmental degradation. Matthew holds a graduate degree from Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs as well as undergraduate degrees from the University of Missouri. He is a proud resident of Anne Arundel County and a frequent visitor to its many trails, parks and kayak launches. 
 

Alanna Dennis

Equal Employment Opportunity Director
Alanna Dennis

Contact

Office of the County Executive

Arundel Center
44 Calvert Street
Annapolis, MD 21401
(410) 222-1234
Alanna W. Dennis is responsible for providing general guidance, education, and diversity & inclusion training with respect to civil rights issues in employment and fair housing. She investigates both Title VI and Title VII complaints of alleged discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation involving County government employees.  She also serves as a resource to both Anne Arundel County residents and Anne Arundel County Departments regarding various equal opportunity issues, e.g.race, religion, sexual orientation, sex, ethnicity, age, disability, and any other characteristics protected by state, county and federal laws.  Alanna obtained her Master's in Business Management from Johns Hopkins University and her Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from The University of Texas School of Law at Austin. Alanna formerly served as the Director of Equity Compliance at Bowie State University, and was appointed as an Assistant Attorney General with Maryland's Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation for 10 years.  Alanna brings to Anne Arundel County more than a decade of experience in EEO compliance, dispute resolution, and investigations.
 

Roz Hamlett

Director of Multimedia Communications

Roz Hamlett is the county’s Director of Multimedia Communications. Roz serves as the lead media contact for the County Executive and the Administration. Her career has focused on journalism, media relations, and government relations at the state, regional, and federal level, including stints on Capitol Hill and in the White House.

Most recently, Roz was the senior writer and executive speechwriter for the CEO at the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey. During her career, she has served as a top aide to several former Maryland leaders, including the House Speaker, the Governor, and the Chancellor of the University System of Maryland. She is a national award-winning journalist and the former Morning Show Producer of WBAL-Radio. She began her career as a Maryland State House reporter for the Afro-American Newspapers.

 
 

Derek Matthews

Special Projects Coordinator
Derek Matthews

Contact

Office of the County Executive

Arundel Center
44 Calvert Street
Annapolis, MD 21401
(410) 222-1095
Derek Matthews was born and raised in Anne Arundel County.   Derek comes from a very diverse law enforcement career in the private sector, local, international and senior federal government level. He previously served as Assistant Police Chief for the City of Glen Arden Maryland, and Tactical Supervisor (SST/VIPER) at the Prince George’s County Office of the Sheriff. He is currently working on numerous special projects in the County Executive's Office including public safety recruiting, gun violence, and prison re-entry.  He is also assisting with special tasks like facilitating strong relationships with community organizations and various interest groups.
 

Sharon Blugis

Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff

Contact

Office of the County Executive

Arundel Center
44 Calvert Street
Annapolis, MD 21401
(410) 222-1182
Sharon Blugis is Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff.  She joins the County Executive's Office from the Anne Arundel County Fire Department where she served for ten years as a Program Specialist for the Office of Fire Safety and Injury Prevention.  Sharon began her career as a litigation paralegal, but realized she was interested in public health and community outreach and returned to school to obtain her Masters of Health Science.  After completing her studies, she joined the Maryland Department of Health as a Community Health Educator  and then later the Anne Arundel County Department of Health as Health Planner III and Chief Trainer.  Sharon has lived in Anne Arundel County since 2005 and currently resides in Annapolis with her husband.   
 

Maria Casasco

Language Access/Limited English Proficiency (LEP) Coordinator
Portrait

Contact

Office of the County Executive

Arundel Center
44 Calvert Street
Annapolis, MD 21401
(410) 222-1879

Maria Casasco is responsible for providing leadership, guidance and support for all executive branch departments to ensure consistent and effective implementation of the county’s Limited English Proficiency (LEP) Plan, policies and practices, throughout County government departments. The purpose of the county’s Language Access and Limited English Proficiency Plan is to provide meaningful communication with LEP persons as mandated in state and federal laws (e.g., Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964), and ensure compliance with the laws and the county’s developed policies, as well as the county demonstrating readiness to communicate and serve all residents.

She developed a Language Access Survey to identify each department’s strengths and weaknesses by providing language assistance including staff awareness, language needs, and multilingual capacity.

For more than 25 years, Ms. Casasco has been with Anne Arundel County Government, attending to the needs of the immigrant community. She previously worked for the Anne Arundel County Department of Health to reduce health disparities in Hispanic American communities. In 2007, she was appointed to the Office of the County Executive to lead the county’s efforts to connect the growing immigrant population to services and programs to ensure a smooth transition to the American way of life.

Ms. Casasco holds a bachelor's degree in Psychology from John F. Kennedy University, in Buenos Aires, Argentina.