Donald Hutchinson is running the Baltimore County Revenue Authority—at least temporarily—after the abrupt departure of William "Lynnie" Cook.
Hutchinson, in an interview with Patch, declined to answer questions about Cook's sudden departure citing "personnel issues."
Cook has not responded to attempts to contact him. In a message to some authority employees last week, Cook said he was leaving to pursue another job opportunity.
Hutchinson, chairman of the authority's five-member board, said the departure was effective immediately.
"He's not there any more," Hutchinson said. "I am there off and on but that will be temporary."
Hutchinson, who is president and chief executive officer of the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, said department heads oversee the day-to-day operations and consult with him when he is not keeping office hours at the authority's Towson headquarters.
Cook is still on the payroll through April 3. Hutchinson said Cook is using accrued leave.
"We have not negotiated any severance agreement," said Hutchinson, adding that such an arrangement could be in the works. The former county executive said he was looking at how the county compensates departing department heads.
In recent months, Cook had come under increased scrutiny after a number of stories highlighted a questionable contract with golf pro and instructor Bill Madonna and a golf outing at the exclusive Pine Valley Golf Course Cook solicited from a company that does business with the authority. State legislators representing the Parkville area had also become concerned about the sale of the Lavender Avenue parking lot.
Cook's testimony before the House Environmental Matters Committee the week before he left the authority raised some eyebrows.
During that testimony, Cook said he was authorized to delay the sale of the Lavender lot if the committee would delay a vote on a bill requiring the authority to obtain approval of the Baltimore County Council before disposing of surplus property.
Hutchinson told Patch that the board never met nor discussed such an option.
"There was no authorization," Hutchinson said. "We never met."
And that contract with Madonna, which created a golf academy at the Fox Hollow Golf Course, may also be on the way out.
The no bid contract has long been criticized by Leslie Pittler, a long-time board member, as being too beneficial to Madonna at the expense of the authority. The contract was not available for review at the time the board voted on it.
"I'm meeting with the leadership of the so-called academy and we're going to review the nature of that contract," Hutchinson said. "I won't say any more about that because it's a contract but suffice to say, and I think you may be able to read between the lines, we are going to be reviewing the nature of the contract and make a determination as to whether or not that contract is-was in the best interest of the county revenue authority."