Gerard Evans, a special assistant to Montgomery County Executive Charles Gilchrist, has resigned, citing "personal attacks" and "pernicious innuendo" against him in connection with the operation of the county's Department of Liquor Control.
Evans, 25, also mentioned a desire to complete a master's degree and resume his law studies. He declined to comment further on his role in the liquor affair until all investigations were complete.
"I regret it [the resignation] very much," commented Gilchrist. "He has done a great job." Gilchrist also decline to discuss the matter further.
County political observers say Gilchrist had formed a strong personal bond with Evans, who worked for him during Gilchrist's time as a state senator in Annapolis and again in his successful campaign for county executive in 1978.
Leonard Colodny, a consultant hired by the county last year to study liquor department operations and later dismissed by Gilchrist, has alleged that Evans improperly offered him two merit jobs in county government while the study was being conducted.
After the release of tape recordings of phone conversations between the two men in which the jobs were offered, there were some calls in the county for Evan's resignation.
Last fall the consulting firm Touche Ross and Company was hired to conduct an exhaustive inquiry of the liquor office. It found evidence of mismanagement but no proof of favoritism.
The resignation, effective March 13, came as the County Council discussed Gilchrist's response to the Touche Ross study. Gilchrist has endorsed all but one of its suggestions for reforming the department, whose 21 stores hold a monopoly on retail liquor sales in the county.
The liquor controversy began last year following press reports of a revolving door between liquor wholesalers and department officials and allegations of favoritism in hiring and placement of orders.
A grand jury is investigating the liquor department, and the county personnel board is looking into Colodny's allegations and the hiring of Deputy Department Head Frank Orifici.