St. Mary's Taps CSM Prof. for Top Economic & Community Dev. Job: Closes Gap Caused by Forrest Firing

Hiring closes gap in government services initiated when County Commissioners forced out County Administrator George G. Forrest in January--a move which cost local taxpayers at least $58,000 at a time when state faces $1.4 billion deficit.

LEONARDTOWN, Md. - Robert Reyes (Bob) Schaller, Ph.D., has been appointed Director, Economic and Community Development for St. Mary's County Government, effective July 2, 2007. The Board of Commissioners for St. Mary's County announced the appointment at the Commission meeting on Tuesday, May 8.

The Director position is full-time and the annual salary is $100,000.

Schaller is currently the chair of the College of Southern Maryland's (CSM) Department of Business, Economics and Legal Studies where he has been employed since 1991. According to a statement released by the county government, Schaller earned his Doctorate degree from George Mason University in 2004, his MBA from Loyola College in 1985, his Bachelor's Degree from Boston University in 1981 and graduated from high school at Chopticon High School.

The Director position became available on March 7, 2007 when the previous Director, John Savich, left to assume the role of County Administrator. The County Administrator position became available on January 22, 2007 when the Board of Commissioners, led by then newly elected President Jack Russell, voted 4-1 to oust Forrest in a closed door meeting. Republican Larry Jarboe was the lone dissenter. The move was masqueraded as a voluntary retirement by Forrest until the secret vote was reported by the County Times shortly thereafter.

The Commissioners agreed to buy out the remaining time on Forrest's contract at a cost to the taxpayers of $58,106. The intangible costs to taxpayers due to the termination of Forrest have not been calculated to our knowledge. The State of Maryland is currently facing a $1.4 billion dollar budget deficit.

The Director of the Department of Economic and Community Development has responsibilities for business development, tourism, agriculture development, community development and housing. The Department's divisions work with citizen-led boards and commissions to identify and meet challenges, promote and expand markets and encourage investment.


Savich Assumes St. Mary’s County Administrator Role, March 6, 2007

Forrest Forced Out of St. Mary's County Government, Says Jarboe, Jan. 25, 2007

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