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Howard County Department of Public Works Director and Finance Director Retire

Howard County Department of Public Works Director and Finance Director Retire

June 9, 2020

Media Contact:
Scott Peterson, Director of Communications, Office of Public Information, 202-277-9412

Jim and Janet Irvin have collectively over 75 years of public service

ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Department of Public Works Director, Jim Irvin, and his wife, Janet Irvin, Finance Director, announced their retirement effective June 30, 2020. Jim Irvin has worked for Howard County since 1975 and has served as the Department of Public Works (DPW) Director since 1989. Angela Price will be appointed acting director for Finance; and Tom Meunier will be appointed acting director for DPW. 

“Janet and Jim are the definition of public servants, and their expertise and presence will be sorely missed in Howard County,” said County Executive Calvin Ball. “The strength of a good leader is longevity, any organization is stronger when they have stability at the top, and for the DPW Jim has been that stability. For 45 years, Jim Irvin has dedicated his life to serving the residents and making sure Howard County’s public works infrastructure is robust and reliable.”

Jim Irvin is leaving behind a legacy of a world class public works systems and services enjoyed by the county residents and businesses each day. This includes the Little Patuxent Waste Reclamation Plant, a state-of-the-art facility recognized by the Maryland Department of the Environment and the U.S. EPA for stellar performance protecting the environment. Early in Jim’s career, as a Bureau Chief, the County started the landfill at Alpha Ridge. It was the first landfill in the county created for the sole purpose to be a permitted landfill operation. 

As Director, he since ushered in single stream recycling in the county causing recycling participation rates to soar. Additionally, Jim has provided leadership in overseeing emergency response operations during multiple weather events such as blizzards, snow storms, floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, derecho and a train derailment in Ellicott City. He has been a critical member of the county’s emergency response and recovery efforts, including the 2016 and 2018 Ellicott City floods.

“The years of service to the citizens of Howard County have been an honor and privilege,” said Jim Irvin. “I would like to thank all the County Executives that have afforded me this great opportunity. Most importantly, I would like to acknowledge and thank the many dedicated, hardworking and professional employees in the Department of Public Works who made Howard County a better place to live and work.”

“I was County Executive in 1975 when Jim Irvin was hired as an engineer,” said Dr. Ed Cochran, former County Executive. “Engineers make great Directors because they can separate politics from how and where public infrastructure should be built.  Jim has been a stabilizing force and served Howard County with distinction over his long career.”

“I believe promoting Jim Irvin to be the director of the Department of Public Works in Howard County was one of my wisest decisions as County Executive,” said Liz Bobo, former County Executive. “His deep dedication to hard work, wise and sometimes courageous decisions, all the while respecting others, served the residents of our county well. I wish Jim and his wife, Janet, a happy retirement.”

“Howard County was fortunate to have Jim Irvin in Public Works for the last 45 years,” said Jim Robey, former County Executive. “During my 40 years with Howard County Government, I got to know and work with Jim, proudly more than any other county official, he is extremely intelligent, caring, and was an absolute pleasure to work with.” 

“Jim provided steady, thoughtful leadership through decades of growth of the county, and I counted on him for guidance and advice to ensure our county infrastructure enhanced our quality of life,” said former County Executive Ken Ulman. “From our commitment to sustainable infrastructure in transportation, water and sewer, county facilities and so much more, Jim took the lead in delivering quality projects on behalf of the citizens and businesses of Howard County and he is a significant reason for our nationally known quality of life.”

“I could always count on Jim Irvin to be honest even when he knew that his words would be difficult to hear,” said former County Executive Allan Kittleman. “Jim was tested so many times during my time as County Executive, recovering from two historic floods, building a new courthouse, and preserving Harriet Tubman School, but Jim never wavered and everyone in Howard County benefited from his leadership. Jim has such a quiet demeanor and his colleagues fondly know him as a man of few words, but his accomplishments speak volumes.”  

Janet Irvin, Director of Finance
Janet Irvin, CPFO, has served the citizens of Howard County as Director of Finance since January 2018. Her 30+ years of public service include 20 years with Howard County Government and the Howard County Public School System.  Additionally, she has over 10 years of service with the State of Maryland, serving as Chief Financial Officer for Maryland Environmental Service and Deputy Director of Finance for MDOT State Highway Administration. 

“Janet’s depth of knowledge and expertise as a public servant has not gone unnoticed in Howard County,” said Ball. “It has been a true pleasure to serve alongside someone who has been such a great steward of our tax-payers and set an example for jurisdictions across the nation.”

In administering the financial affairs of the County, she oversaw and enforced the annual collection of over $1.5 billion of State and County taxes and other revenues and funds of every kind due to the County; ensured the custody and safekeeping of funds and securities in excess of $2 billion belonging to or by law deposited with, distributed to or handled by the County; maintained control over $1.5 billion of commitments and disbursements on the basis of budgetary appropriations and allotments; preserved the County’s triple AAA bond rating and recognized $7.3 million in interest savings; and ensured the security of over $3.3 billion of County assets.

“It’s been an honor to serve the citizens of Howard County,” said Janet Irvin. “With a budget of $8.7 million, the 60 professionals in Finance and I have been able to accomplish so much: winning various industry, national, and international awards for innovation and excellence, working to change State laws to increase revenue collections by eliminating unnecessary fees, and exploring new and innovative financing for the County’s long-term needs, just to name a few. They’re a remarkable group, and I look to them to continue their great work.”

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