- The Washington Times - Friday, November 4, 2005

The man who guided the redevelopment of Silver Spring for Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan is now in charge of resolving a scandal in the county’s planning department that could run deep into the gubernatorial race.

William Mooney, who from 1993 to 2003 was one of four assistant chief administrative officers under Mr. Duncan, took over Monday as director of the county’ Department of Park and Planning, the day its director of nine years retired.

Mr. Mooney, 54, was a police officer for 20 years before joining Mr. Duncan’s staff.

“That was the first time I had worked with the community to solve problems,” he said recently of overseeing the changes in Silver Spring. “I coordinated all the county’s efforts.”

Mr. Duncan is a Democratic candidate for governor. He faces a strong primary challenge from Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley before the November 2006 election against incumbent Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., a Republican.

In 2003, Mr. Mooney was hired by the Park and Planning Department to oversee its golf courses, ice rinks and public-private partnerships.

He was promoted to deputy director in August to deal specifically with the controversy in Clarksburg that unfolded after residents uncovered hundreds of building violations at the 1,300-home Clarksburg Town Center.

Mr. Mooney became the department’s interim director in September when Charles E. Loehr, who was at the agency for 26 years, announced he would resign Oct. 31.

Duncan spokesman David Weaver called Mr. Mooney a “very capable administrator.” But since July, when county planner Wynn Witthans was found to have falsified a site plan to cover up the violations in Clarksburg, the list of irregularities has continued to grow.

Clarksburg homeowners have since found more problems that they say prove the developer disregarded the law.

County planners have found similar problems in other upcoming projects in Clarksburg and at least one in a luxury condominium project in Bethesda.

Board members hope to issue a ruling and impose sanctions by the end of the month. But three separate investigations could end with possible charges of fraud or abuse.

County Council member Steven Silverman, at-large Democrat, who is running to replace Mr. Duncan, pressed a zoning official Monday to determine hastily whether and where there are “any more Clarksburgs.”

Mr. Weaver said Mr. Duncan is eager to have the Clarksburg problems resolved. “He is obviously concerned that this thing isn’t moving quickly enough,” Mr. Weaver said.



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