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James R. Benjamin, Jr., Joins Leadership Team

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski today announced that James R. Benjamin, Jr., will join his leadership team as County Attorney.

Current County Attorney Michael Field has been named Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of the County Executive.

"James brings a wealth of experience in litigation, deep knowledge in a variety of areas relevant to local government, and has been a trusted advisor to small, minority and women-owned businesses. I'm honored that an attorney and community leader of his caliber is joining our team," Olszewski said.

"Mike Field has a remarkable grasp of the law and public policy, and a tireless commitment to social justice. I'm pleased that he will continue as a part of our team as he shifts into a different role, advising on legislation and policy," Olszewski said.

Benjamin is currently a member of the Business, Litigation and EMERGE Teams at Gordon Feinblatt LLC. He handles environmental and administrative matters for his clients and regularly counsels clients on state and local regulatory issues. He has substantial bench and jury trial experience and has represented clients in complex toxic tort litigation at both the trial and appellate levels. In addition, he has significant experience representing and advising small, minority-owned and women-owned businesses on certification and procurement matters, as well as in structuring and creating joint ventures and teaming arrangements.

Benjamin was a former law clerk for the Honorable Ellen M. Heller in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City. He also served as an Assistant City Solicitor with the Baltimore City Law Department's Land Use and Litigation divisions where he handled complex legal matters involving constitutional law and exhaustion of administrative remedies. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park, and University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law.

Benjamin dedicates significant time to community and civic engagement, serving as a member of the Board of Visitors of the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law and the University of Maryland College Park's College of Behavioral and Social Sciences. He serves on the Judge Alexander Williams Center for Education, Justice and Ethics Board of Directors, and on the board of the Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland. He previously co-chaired Baltimore City's Working Group on the Use and Implementation of Body-Worn Cameras in 2014 and 2015, and was a member of the Baltimore County Charter Review Commission in 2016 and 2017. He has also served on the Maryland State Ethics Commission.

Mike Field has served as County Attorney since 2010. He first joined the Baltimore County Office of Law in 1997 to conduct the decennial Code Revision, and subsequently redesigned and rewrote the County Code. He has served as counsel to the Ethics Commission, the Landmarks Preservation Commission and the Animal Hearing Board.

Field has drafted every major piece of legislation introduced by any county executive since 2005, and has been involved in the drafting of many county regulations. As Senior Policy Advisor, Field will continue to advise on and draft legislation, as well as oversee efforts to put the complete Code of Baltimore County Regulations online for the first time.

Field is a graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park, and the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law.

Benjamin's appointment as County Attorney must be approved by the County Council.


Kamenetz Chief of Staff Will Complete Term  

May 24, the Baltimore County Council elected Donald I. Mohler III as the 13th Baltimore County Executive to fill the remaining term of Kevin Kamenetz who died on May 10, 2018. Mohler served as Chief of Staff to Kamenetz since 2010. He previously served as County Executive Jim Smith’s Acting Chief of Staff and Communications Director.

Donald I. Mohler“I am truly humbled,” said Mohler. “This wasn’t supposed to happen. My friend and County Executive Kevin Kamenetz should be finishing his second term in office. Baltimore County has been through a lot over the last few weeks, including the tragic death of a police officer and the sudden loss of our County Executive. This is a time for everyone -- County employees and communities -- to come together and heal. Baltimore County is strong. As Jill Kamenetz so bravely said at her husband’s funeral service, ‘we will be okay.’ County government will continue to provide the services and public safety that our residents deserve. I am committed to making that happen.”

Mohler’s resume follows:

Education:

Doctor of Education                     Nova Southeastern University                    1999

Master of Education                     Loyola College                                           1978

Master of Liberal Arts                  Western Maryland College                         1977        

Bachelor of Arts                           Western Maryland College                         1972

Employment Summary:

Chief of Staff for Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz - 2010 - 2018

Communications Director/Acting Chief of Staff for Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith- 2009-2010

Communications Director for Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith - 2004-2009

Chief Operating Officer, Alternatives Unlimited - 2002-2003

Executive Director, Student Support Services Baltimore County Public Schools - 2001-2002

Northeast Area Superintendent, Baltimore County Public Schools - 1998-2000

National Faculty Member for Doctoral Studies in Educational Leadership Nova Southeastern University - 1999-2003      

Instructor, Excellence in School Administration Goucher College - 1998-1999        

Assistant Superintendent, Communications and Special Projects Baltimore County Public Schools - 1995-1998

Principal, Baltimore County Public Schools

                Catonsville High School - 1992-1995       

                Sparrows Point Middle School - 1990-1992    

 Assistant Principal, Baltimore County Public Schools

                Dundalk High School - 1985-1990       

Guidance Chairman, Baltimore County Public Schools

               Dundalk High School - 1983-1985       

Guidance Counselor, Baltimore County Public Schools

                Lansdowne High School - 1978-1983

Social Studies Teacher, Baltimore County Public Schools

   Lansdowne High School - 1972-1978

 Social Studies Teacher

                St. Mark’s School - 1971-1972 


Reiterates Commitment to Law Enforcement Standards on Immigration Status, Diversity and Equity

In response to the County Council choosing not to vote on a bill that would have altered the duties of the Baltimore County Department of Corrections to include certain immigration law enforcement functions, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz issued the following statement:

"My Executive Order promotes public safety and upholds the Constitution. The Republican council bill was more about bringing Donald Trump’s divisive politics to our county than doing what is best for our residents. I'm glad the council didn't move forward with this legislation.”

The complete Executive Order is below:

EXECUTIVE ORDER

LAW ENFORCEMENT STANDARDS ON IMMIGRATION STATUS, DIVERSITY AND EQUITY

                WHEREAS, Baltimore County residents fully support our country's rich heritage of welcoming immigrants from around the world who come to America seeking a better life in pursuit of the American Dream; and

                WHEREAS, Baltimore County has welcomed an increasingly diverse population that parallels statewide demographics; and

                WHEREAS, Baltimore County recognizes that public trust and confidence in local government and law enforcement policies are essential to a fair and orderly government; and

                WHEREAS, the Baltimore County Police Department prides itself on the positive relationship that it has maintained with the County’s resident population, including its immigrant community,  and maintenance of positive relationships are key to keeping our neighborhoods safe; and

                WHEREAS, as part of that relationship, all residents must feel safe and secure to cooperate with Baltimore County Police Officers to report crimes and offer assistance in resolving criminal activity; and

                WHEREAS, from time to time it is necessary to reiterate the policies and precepts necessary to maintain public order and discourse, consistent with the laws of the county, state, and federal governments, their respective judicial branch holdings, and the Constitutions of Maryland and the United States.

                NOW, THEREFORE, I, Kevin Kamenetz, as County Executive of Baltimore County, on this 5th day of April 2017, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Baltimore County Charter, do hereby promulgate the following EXECUTIVE ORDER for Baltimore County, Maryland:

                1. No Baltimore County Department, agency, officer or employee shall discriminate against any person within Baltimore County based on confirmed or suspected race, creed, religion, color, sex, age, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, status as a veteran, physical or mental disability, immigration status, and/or inability to speak English.

                2. No Baltimore County Department, agency, officer or employee shall condition the provision of County services or benefits on the immigration status of the individual seeking those services or benefits unless such conditions are lawfully imposed by federal or state law.

                3. No Baltimore County Police Officer shall make inquiry of a person's immigration status for the purpose of initiating civil enforcement of immigration proceedings, except in the case of a criminal warrant signed by a judicial official.

                4.  No personnel within the Police Department or Department of Corrections shall cause to be detained any individual beyond their court ordered release date, except upon reasonable belief of the existence of an order of detainer issued by a properly recognized judicial official.

                5. Nothing in this Executive Order shall be construed to prohibit any Baltimore County Police Officer or employee from participating in task force activities with county, state or federal criminal law enforcement authorities.

                6. Nothing in this Executive Order shall be construed to prohibit any Baltimore County Police Officer from investigating violations of criminal law.

                7. Nothing in this Executive Order shall be construed to prohibit any Baltimore County Police Officer from cooperating with federal immigration authorities in the investigation and apprehension of undocumented immigrants suspected of criminal activity.

                8. This Executive Order shall take effect immediately according to its terms.


 
 
Revised September 11, 2017