In Transit, a Name for Silver Spring Hub

By Ann E. Marimow and Ernesto Londoño
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, November 23, 2006

Paul S. Sarbanes (D) may be leaving the U.S. Senate, but Montgomery County officials are ensuring that his more than three decades in public life will not be forgotten.

At the request of County Executive Douglas M. Duncan (D) and County Council President George Leventhal (D-At Large), the Metro board has voted to put Sarbanes's name on the new Silver Spring Transit Center.

The $75 million hub is expected to make over the vast concrete bus and Metro plaza on Colesville Road, and is slated for completion in 2009. The project has been buoyed by $24 million in federal money.

Sarbanes "helped shape and enact every major piece of public transit legislation that created many of the grant and formula programs for public transit in existence today," Duncan and Leventhal wrote to Metro board Chairman Gladys Mack.

"It is fitting to acknowledge his devotion and dedication to the residents of Montgomery County."

At Your Pleasure

Incoming county executive Isiah "Ike" Leggett is interviewing the government's top political appointees to assemble his new administration. In Montgomery, 40 department directors and deputies -- from the police chief to the chief administrative officer -- serve at the pleasure of the county executive.

Leggett characterized that number as a "tight limitation."

"I can hardly think of any community this size where you have as many key positions that are civil service," he said. "When the county executive wants to make changes, you are limited."

In Baltimore County, the number is actually on par -- approximately 40, said spokeswoman Marjorie Hampson. But in Prince George's, County Executive Jack B. Johnson controls 61 positions, said spokesman Jim Keary. And in the District, Mayor-elect Adrian M. Fenty has discretion over 195 slots, according to personnel department spokesman Mike Rupert.

Following the Leader

Deputy State's Attorney Katherine Winfree is getting a promotion, albeit one that entails a murderous commute and a slight pay cut.

As of January, Montgomery County's No. 2 prosecutor will become the state's No. 2 law enforcement official. Winfree, 55, is following her boss, Attorney General-elect Douglas F. Gansler, to Baltimore when he takes office in January. She will be senior deputy attorney general, helping to run the agency, which has 400 lawyers.

"I'm excited," said Winfree, who plans to commute between the Baltimore office and her Bethesda home. "There are a lot of new things to learn."

Winfree and Gansler met when they were federal prosecutors in Washington. She followed him to Rockville when he became state's attorney in 1999. An aggressive and skilled trial lawyer, she has prosecuted several high-profile cases, including those of snipers John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo.

Gansler will have two other deputies. One is John B. Howard Jr., a civil lawyer who focuses on commercial litigation at Venable LLP in Baltimore. Howard, 43, was Gansler's roommate at the University of Virginia law school, and the two remained friends. He worked at the attorney general's office from 1996 to 1999. The other has not been selected.

Duncan Not Fading Away

Duncan's annual birthday party fundraiser this month gave some supporters hope that his political career is not over. After recounting some of the highlights of his 12 years in office, Duncan told the crowd essentially, "Don't worry, I'm not going anywhere."

That impression was reinforced when his campaign staff handed out bumper stickers with the slogan from his gubernatorial bid: Think Bigger.

But spokesman David Weaver said not to read anything into the comments or the stickers. Duncan plans to stay involved in the community, he said, and the slogan was always meant as a motivation to get people to "think beyond themselves."

© 2006 The Washington Post Company