Andrew Kleine Resigns As County Chief Administrative Officer

Andrew Kleine

County Chief Administrative Officer Andrew Kleine has resigned, and Rich Madaleno, the county’s director of the office of management and budget, was just nominated by County Executive Marc Elrich to fill his position. He will become acting CAO on Aug. 16.

Kleine recently was fined $5,000 after admitting he violated county ethics when he promoted his book and maintained relationships with two businesses while serving as a county employee.

The results of an investigation by the county’s Office of Inspector General found that Kleine traveled to conferences on taxpayers’ dollars and then held book signings while at those conferences. He also was found to have conflicts of interest with Balancing Act and Clear Impact and has agreed not to have any business with those companies, unless obtaining approval by the county Ethics Commission. Several councilmembers publicly criticized the punishment as being too light and some called for his resignation.

Council President Sidney Katz called Kleine’s resignation “the right thing to do, given the ethics violations found by the Montgomery County Ethics Commission. This change in leadership is an essential step to restoring confidence among county government employees and residents. Our system of representative government depends on the people maintaining the highest trust in their elected officials and government employees.”

Katz added, “The Council thanks Mr. Kleine for his public service and looks forward to continuing to work with Mr. Madaleno in his new position.”

Kleine, the highest ranking county employee, has served for the first 20 months of Elrich’s administration, and Elrich is credited with bringing Kleine to the county executive staff.

In a news release, Elrich wrote, “During his time as CAO, Andrew Kleine led the County Government’s effort to reorganize services ranging from public safety to technology services.”

He further praised Kleine, noting, “He championed a Turn the Curve initiative to empower County employees to rethink and improve the delivery of services to our million-plus residents. Over the past five months, he has played a critical role in our community’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. I thank him for his many contributions and wish him well in future endeavors.”

Councilman Gabe Albornoz called Kleine’s resignation “unfortunate but probably for the best.” If Kleine had remained,”it would have been with a cloud hanging over his head,” he said, adding, “It’s a tough sitation all the way around for everyone.”

Madaleno, a lifelong county resident, has held positions in both county and state government, including as a delegate and a senator in the Maryland General Assembly. While in the Senate, Madaleno was the vice chair of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee.

“Rich is trusted by community groups and policymakers throughout the County and State for his leadership skills and budgeting acumen, which will serve the County well as we face the most significant challenges of our generation,” Elrich wrote in the news release. “I am confident that his experience and expertise will help my administration deliver on my promise to build a healthy, well-functioning, innovative, equitable and inclusive community for all of our residents.”

The council must approve Madaleno, which they are expected to do in September as they currently are on a summer recess.

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About Suzanne Pollak

Suzanne is a freelance reporter with Montgomery Community Media. She has over 35 years professional experience writing for newspapers, magazines, non-profit newsletters and the web.

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