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Meet the Executive Branch Staff

Benjamin 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.

Janice Hayes-Williams

Community Engagement Senior Advisor
Janice Hayes-Williams

Contact

Office of the County Executive

Arundel Center
44 Calvert Street
Annapolis, MD 21401

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. 

 

Brandi Francis

Acting Public Information Officer
Brandi Francis

Contact

Office of Public Information

Arundel Center
44 Calvert Street
Annapolis, MD 21401
(410) 222-1288

Brandi Francis is currently the Director of Communications for Anne Arundel County's Department of Aging and Disabilities. In that role, she leads the department in emergency operations for staff, older adults, and individuals with disabilities. In addition, Ms. Francis serves as the legislative liaison for the department.

 

Maria Casasco

Latino and Immigrant Relations Officer

Contact

Office of the County Executive

Arundel Center
44 Calvert Street
Annapolis, MD 21401
(410) 222-1879
Maria Casasco is responsible for providing direction of programs and initiatives to support the success of immigrants and diverse communities and serves as a liason between the County Executive's Office and the multicultural community. Maria previously worked for the Anne Arundel County Department of Health to reduce health disparities in Hispanic American communities. She has a bachelor's degree in psychology from John F. Kennedy University in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
 

Sergio Polanco

English-Spanish Website Language Access Translator
Sergio Polanco

Contact

Office of the County Executive

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

Sergio Polanco, a native of Guatemala, is the founder and editor-in-chief of Conexiones Diversity Bilingual Magazine which provides educational information, entertainment, employment opportunities and news to the community. 
 
Today Mr. Polanco is also the co-host of “Bienvenidos TV,” a Spanish-language television program on the Anne Arundel County television station. He interviews bilingual guests such as healthcare professionals, business owners, and government officials that have a social, economic and cultural impact on our community.

Mr. Polanco has been recognized for his leadership in the community by the Guatemalan Consulate (2017), the Maryland Hispanic Business Conference (2015) and is a Latin Community Award recipient (2016). He always looking for opportunities to bridge gaps between our cultures and our communities.

 

Alanna Dennis

Compliance Officer
Alanna Dennis

Contact

Office of County Executive

Arundel Center
44 Calvert Street
Annapolis, MD 21401
(410) 222-1234
Alanna W. Dennis is responsible for promoting diversity and inclusion in County government. She processes and facilitates internal human resource complaints throughout County government. She will also institute an internal, recurring diversity training program for the County employees. Alanna has a master's degree in business from Johns Hopkins University and a law degree from the University of Texas. She has more than a decade of experience investigating and mediating discrimination complaints and formerly served as an Assistant Maryland Attorney General.
 

Dejah Williams

Transition Coordinator
Dejah Williams

Contact

Office of County Executive

Arundel Center
44 Calvert Street
Annapolis, MD 21401
(410) 222-1785
Dejah Desiree Williams is a native Washington D.C. She is a graduate of Texas A&M University with a degree in political science.  After graduation, Dejah worked as a press operations intern for the Maryland Democratic Party. During the 2018 primaries Dejah, left her internship to manage a District 1 County Council race in Anne Arundel County. Afterwards, she went on to work as an account executive and consultant for local races throughout Anne Arundel County.  In addition to her consultant work, Dejah also worked as a field organizer for the Maryland Coordinated Campaign during the 2018 election cycle. Dejah is also a member of the Anne Arundel County Democratic Central Committee where she works to promote democratic values throughout the county.
 
 

James Kitchin

Constituent Services Officer
James Kitchin

Contact

Constituent Services

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

James Kitchin is a former high school teacher and current public policy doctoral student at University of Maryland. Mr. Kitchin lives in Crofton and was a candidate for County Council District 7.

 
 

Jenese Jones

Constituent Services Officer
Jenese Jones

Contact

Constituent Services

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

Ms. Jenese Jones has been a staunch advocate for educational equality and advocacy for over 16 years. She is a graduate of Clark Atlanta University with a major in Political Science and minor in Music performance (voice). After a successful 12 years in the classroom, her passion for political service led her to elected office in 2012 in our Nation's Capital as an ANC Commissioner. In 2018, she ran for State Delegate (MD-32) and served as campaign manager for County Councilwoman Sarah Lacey. She co-founded Faith Leaders for Excellent Schools, an education advocacy organization based in Baltimore. Prior to accepting this role, she served as Executive Director of MarylandCAN and was an Education Policy Advisor at the U.S. Department of Education under former Secretary Arne Duncan. She is a 7th generation Marylander educated in Charles County Public Schools and currently resides in Laurel.

 

Derek Matthews

Community and Minority Outreach Officer

Contact

Office of the County Executive

Arundel Center
44 Calvert Street
Annapolis, MD 21401
(410) 222-1095
Derek Matthews works on several special projects, including improving diversity in the County workforce and facilitating strong relationships with community organizations as well as interest groups. Derek comes from a diverse law enforcement career in the private sector, local, and at the senior federal government level. He previously served as Assistant Police Chief for the City of Glenn Arden Maryland, and Tactical Supervisor (SST/VIPER) at the Prince George’s County Office of the Sheriff. 
 

 

Transition Leadership

Janet Owens

Transition Committee Co-Chair
Janet S. Owens was born in Annapolis and was the first female elected County Executive for Anne Arundel County.  She served two terms from 1998-2006. Her priorities were education, economic development and land preservation. Janet received her BA from George Washington University and completed her MA and doctoral course of study at the University of Massachusetts. She served in major state positions in Massachusetts before returning to Maryland, then served as the Director of the Housing Commission and the Department of Aging before being elected to the Orphans Court.Following her tenure as County Executive, she served as a Board member and then Chair of the University of Maryland Baltimore Foundation.
 

Chris Trumbauer

Transition Committee Co-Chair
Chris Trumbauer has served our local communities in various capacities over the past two decades, most notably with his two terms of service on the County Council, beginning in 2010. He has also been a key environmental leader, as the West/Rhode Riverkeeper from 2009-2013, and before that as a member of the South River Federation Board of Directors and a scientist with the Department of Natural Resources. He has a deep understanding of Anne Arundel County government and was a member of the legislative committee for the Maryland Association of Counties. He is currently a Vice President at The Hatcher Group, a communications firm that works with nonprofits and foundations.