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Berlage Named Planning Chief in St. Mary's

Derick Berlage, who stepped down almost three years ago as planning board chairman in Montgomery County amid controversy over weak oversight of development, has been named planning chief for St. Mary's County.

The county's commissioners voted 3-1 Tuesday to hire Berlage, who will be paid $110,000 annually. He will oversee a staff of 38 and have a budget of $3 million, said Karen Everett, of the county's information office.

The dissenting vote was cast by Republican Lawrence D. Jarboe, who was not immediately available for comment. The other Republican, Kenneth R. Dement, was absent
.
Jack Russell, president of the county board, said he was pleased Berlage was coming to St. Mary's, where he will start work on April 15. Berlage is required to move to the county within one year.

"We are fortunate that Derick Berlage has agreed to lead this county department as we address important land use challenges and opportunities," he said.

Berlage became embroiled in controversy in Montgomery after a group of residents of Clarksburg Town Center unearthed irregularities in county oversight of growth and development. Initially Berlage wanted to seek reappointment in 2006, but some county officials facing political races that fall quietly told him he should step aside.

After he left the county's planning board, he joined the Venable law firm, handling land use issues out of its Rockville office. He appeared from time to time before his former colleagues and staff members at the planning board on behalf of developers.

Berlage was not immediately available for comment

By Miranda Spivack  |  April 1, 2009; 4:15 PM ET
Categories:  Miranda Spivack , Montgomery County  
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