Top aide to Montgomery Co. executive steps down after ethics violations

A top Montgomery County, Maryland, official has resigned after it was found he violated the county’s ethics laws.

Andrew Kleine, who served as the chief administrative officer, stepped down Tuesday.

The news came in a message to employees from County Executive Marc Elrich, who had selected Kleine as the CAO.

In July, Kleine admitted to making “careless errors in judgment” in connection with his business interests in two different companies and a book he wrote.

The county’s ethics commission found that county money was used to buy Kleine’s book, which was then given to county employees.

Kleine had agreed to pay $5,000 in fines in connection to the violations.

Several county council members complained the fine was too small at a recent hearing.

Kleine was appointed in 2018. His resignation takes effect Saturday.

Rich Madaleno, the county’s budget director, will take on Kleine’s job in an acting capacity starting Sunday.

Elrich nominated Madaleno to take on the role.

“Rich is trusted by community groups and policymakers throughout the county and state for his leadership skills and budgeting acumen, which will serve the county well as we face the most significant challenges of our generation,” Elrich said in a release.

“I am confident that his experience and expertise will help my administration deliver on my promise to build a healthy, well-functioning, innovative, equitable and inclusive community for all of our residents.”

Madaleno’s nomination must be approved by the Montgomery County Council. Council members are scheduled to return from their summer recess in September.

“Mr. Madaleno’s experience as the director of the Office of Management and Budget, a former state delegate and senator in the Maryland General Assembly and an intergovernmental affairs specialist will serve Montgomery County well, as he takes on this new role,” the county council said in a release.

“This change in leadership will not impact any government services for residents.”

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