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MoCo Council Vets WSSC Nominee

As thousands of Montgomery County residents were still reeling from disruptions in water service this week, council members were vetting Democratic County Executive Isiah Leggett's latest pick to serve on the commission that oversees water and sewer delivery for 1.8.million customers in Montgomery and Prince George's counties.

Rockville resident Roscoe M. Moore Jr. is an epidemiologist who retired from the federal government in 2003 after serving as assistant U.S. surgeon general and assistant to health and human services secretaries Donna E. Shalala and Tommy G. Thompson. Moore ran unsuccessfully for Congress in the 4th District in 2004 and runs a company that advises foreign entities and others on the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases.

But council members joked that perhaps his most relevant qualification for serving on the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, which has a history of hardball politics, is his first-degree black belt in karate.

"That may be helpful," council President Michael Knapp (D-Upcounty) quipped. He added in seriousness, "The stream is rising, and our need to have a strong group of commissioners is significant."

Some council members expressed surprise that Moore would want to wade into the apparent dysfunction of the organization. The six-member bi-county commission has been unable to reach consensus in its search for a general manager and is divided along county lines. Council members urged Moore to work in harmony with the two other Montgomery commissioners: - former state delegates Adrienne A. Mandel and Gene W. Counihan.

"Perhaps you'll be the personality who can move us away from the polarization," said council member Nancy Floreen (D-At Large).

When asked about his qualifications, Moore said that he has experience handling situations in which there is conflict and that "I can read, I can write, and I have reasonable judgment." He later described his karate technique, which he called "defensive fighting."

Moore said in an interview that the key to his success has been having patience and not panicking. "You hang out long enough, and then you get them."

By Anne Bartlett  |  June 19, 2008; 9:43 AM ET
Categories:  Ann Marimow  
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