The Calvert Board of County Commissioners chose Douglas A. Parran Jr. on Tuesday to serve as the county's top-ranking administrator until after the 2006 elections.

During a closed-door session, the board asked Parran to become interim county administrator. He will continue to serve as director of the Department of General Services, the county government's largest agency.

Parran, 60, said he agreed to begin the new position at the end of the month and continue until the county commissioners elected or reelected in next year's election take office that December and choose a permanent administrator.

"I believe this is a politically correct thing to do," said Parran, who lives in Lusby. "I think they used great judgment appointing an interim administrator. Who knows what the next board wants in that position?"

The appointment follows last week's decision by James J. Allman, the county's top unelected official since 1998, to retire after the commissioners indicated that they wanted a change before the election season begins.

During his decade as director of general services, Parran has served as interim administrator on multiple occasions. He occupied that position for more than two months in 1998 before Allman took office, and he fills in when Allman is on vacation or out of town.

Parran was so widely viewed as the logical pick for the position that commissioners President David F. Hale (R-Owings) said last week that he was the only candidate the board was scheduled to interview for the job.

When asked to list his goals as county administrator, Parran said he has no specific plans or areas on which he wants to focus. "The priority is just keeping the communication between the commissioners and the staff," he said. "To try and make sure that staff executes the commissioners' goals and wishes on a daily basis."

He said: "I think the overall flow of the county is very well executed at this point. I just want to see it continue. That's a challenge."

Parran said he is preparing for workdays that might stretch 12 or 14 hours long. He also expects to work regularly on weekends.

"I really just think it's going to be a big devotion of time," he said.

Parran, whose salary was $95,390 last year, said he did not ask the commissioners Tuesday for a specific pay increase because of his new responsibilities. He said he expects the board to take action in the next week to determine his new salary.

As director of general services, Parran oversees a 309-employee department responsible for the county's parks and recreation programs, maintenance of county buildings, mosquito control, and the Calvert Marine and Chesapeake Beach Railway museums.

He said the main hallmark of his time in that job has been handling the increased demand for government space and recreation programs as once-rural Calvert has transformed into the fastest-growing county in Maryland.

Parran said he would continue as county administrator if the new board asked him to at the end of 2006, but he said he would prefer to come back to his old office.

"I would be more than happy just to return here unless requested to continue," he said.