Dr. Martin P. Wasserman, 35, has been appointed by County Manager W. Vernon Ford as Arlington's director of human resources. Wasserman, who is currently chief medical officer with the Department of Health, Education and Welfare Bureau of Community Health, will begin the job, which pays $44,500 year, on Sept. 1.

Wasserman succeeds Dr. Helen Hackman who resigned after seven years as director of the human resources department, one of the largest departments in the country, which over-sees a variety of medical, mental health and social service programs.

"For the next several months I intend to listen and not make the mistake of making decisions too early," said Wasserman, who holds a bachelor's degree from Johns Hopkins University and a law degree from the University of Maryland.

"I have some particular interests that I might take with me into the county," he said. "But you don't go in and shake up an organization. I want to slide into the system and get to know it."

Among Wasserman's interests are the problems of the elderly, abused children, handicapped people and adolescents, all areas in which he been involved, Wasserman said. Before [WORD ILLEGIBLE] post, Wasserman was medical director of Baltimore's Mount Washington Pediatric Hospital, which specializes in caring for children who are chronically ill, handicapped or require special attention because of child abuse.

Wasserman also has served as head of the pediatric emergency room at Baltimore's University Hospital and as a medical officer for the U.S. Public Health Service in Gallup, N.M.

"This summer I've got to learn a lot about Arlington and take the 2 a.m. feedings," said Wasserman whose wife is expecting their second child in June. "I'm used to working 80 to 90 hours a week. I'll have to learn about the problems of the large number of Vietnamese living in Arlington drastically revised its budget process. The result was zero-based budgeting, which requires department heads to precisely explain how every dollar in a budget is spent.

"The process in the federal government has a great deal of national impact but in exchange for influence the direct involvement is not there," said Wasserman. "I personally have the need at this state for more direct kinds of reward systems. Within the federal government that's blurred. I think this job will provide a lot more initial feed-back."

According to one county official, who said that more than 30 candidates were interviewed, Wasserman's selection ends a six-month nationwide recruiting drive to find Hackman's successor.