Conklin Is Elrich’s Nominee as Next Transportation Director, Sources Say
Roshdieh scheduled to leave post at end of this month
Deputy Transportation Director Chris Conklin.
Photo Courtesy of Montgomery County
Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich will nominate Chris Conklin as the county’s next transportation director, County Council sources told Bethesda Beat.
Conklin has been the deputy director for the Montgomery County Department of Transportation since August 2016.
Reached at his office on Monday, Conklin said he could not provide any information on whether he was being considered for the role or if he had expressed any interest in the position.
If the County Council confirms Conklin’s nomination, he would succeed Al Roshdieh, who was director for nearly five years. Roshdieh, a 30-year county employee, plans to leave at the end of the month to be the director of general services for the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission.
“Of course, the county executive wasn’t happy, but I felt it was best for me to take on a new role,” Roshdieh said. “I’ve been with the county for 30 years and I felt it was time for a change.”
In 2018, Roshdieh made $236,505, which made him the 10th highest paid employee in the county.
Elrich has not publicly announced his nominee and has declined to confirm that it is Conklin.
On Monday, when Elrich and Roshdieh appeared in Silver Spring at a ribbon-cutting for the county’s first protected bike lane intersection, they both declined to comment on the nomination.
But in a phone interview on Tuesday morning, Elrich confirmed that his administration was negotiating with Conklin but hadn’t yet settled on a definite offer.
“If I were ready to make a statement, I would make a statement,” he said. “I know there are discussions, but I don’t know if there’s an agreement.”
Elrich has known of Roshdieh’s plans to leave the agency since at least early September, when the director confirmed that he would take a new position outside county government.
Elrich said he hoped to nominate a new director by the end of this month, before Roshdieh leaves.
If Elrich does not name a nominee by then, he said, he would appoint an acting director, but declined to say who would take over that role.
“I think you’ve basically got good staff over there,” he said. “They understand their priorities and how to execute them. The work will keep going even if the manager’s not there.”
There are still at least three county departments, including Transportation, for which Elrich has yet to nominate a permanent director.
The Departments of Finance and Permitting still have acting directors. Elrich also created two executive positions — chief technology officer and chief equity officer — that he has yet to fill.
At least six department heads have left since Elrich took office in December 2018. They include former Police Chief Tom Manger, who retired in April after 15 years in the role.
The county executive recently named Acting Chief Marcus Jones as his nominee to take over the position. Jones is awaiting confirmation by the council.
Staff writer Dan Schere contributed to this report