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Newsmaker: Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski, Jr.

 Johnny Olszewski, Jr. won election in 2018 to serve as County Executive of Baltimore County, the third largest political jurisdiction in Maryland.  (photo courtesy of Office of the County Executive)
Johnny Olszewski, Jr. was elected in 2018 to serve as County Executive of Baltimore County. He previously served two terms representing District 6 in Maryland's House of Delegates. (photo courtesy of Office of the County Executive)

Tom's Newsmaker guest today is Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski, Jr.

Mr. Olszewski has a full plate of issues to contend with. The County has relaxed some COVID restrictions. Masks are no longer required in public buildings. As of the end of the month, masks will no longer be required in County government buildings, too.

It’s budget season in Baltimore County; hundreds, maybe thousands of people are expected to participate in budget hearings. A consultant hired to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of County government offered 171 ways that the County could save hundreds of millions of dollars.

School construction is back on the front burner. Dulaney and Towson high schools are due for facelifts. The County has more than $160 million to work with from the American Rescue Plan, but not all problems can be solved with money alone.

Like other jurisdictions around the country, Baltimore County is experiencing more violent crime than in years past.

The County is Maryland’s third largest jurisdiction. After some speculation that he might run for governor, Mr. Olszewski announced last spring that he will stand for election for a second term as County Executive. He is the only Democrat who has filed to run in the primary. Kimberley Stansbury and Darren Badillo have filed to face-off against each other in the Republican primary.

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszeski, Jr,. joins us on Zoom from his office in Towson.

We welcome your questions or comments for the County Executive.


An important addendum to yesterday’s show:

Tom interviewed three members of the leadership team at the Baltimore City Department of Housing and Community Development. They spoke about the vacant house on Stricker Street in South Baltimore that was recently the scene of the terrible tragedy in which three Baltimore firefighters were killed when that home collapsed while they were fighting a fire there.

Justin Fenton is one of several excellent reporters who have been hired by the Baltimore Banner, an online platform that is scheduled to launch later this spring. In the meantime, the Banner is publishing a newsletter with stories of local interest, and this morning, Justin posted a story that tells the history of the house on Stricker Street where the firefighters were killed. He found that It is owned by a woman in Huntingdon, PA, whose husband, Robert Shore, Sr., left it to her when he passed away in 2016.

Fenton reports that the house was declared vacant by the city in 2010. That same year, the tax liens on the house were sold at public auction to First National Assets. This is a company that buys the right to collect back taxes that are owed by homeowners around the country. First National Assets foreclosed on the property in 2013, but Justin Fenton reports that a year later, the city had the foreclosure overturned because First National Assets had not paid the back taxes that were owed on the property. The city tried to sell it at three subsequent tax sales, but no buyers have been interested.

To read Justin Fenton’s story in the Baltimore Banner newsletter, click here.

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Host, Midday (M-F 12:00-1:00)
Rob is Midday's senior producer.