By Billy Owens
Baltimore Watchdog Staff Writer
The Baltimore County Council confirmed the appointment of Gail Watts as the new director of the county’s Department of Corrections by a 6-0 vote Monday evening.
Each of the six council members in attendance had met with Watts in the weeks leading up to the council meeting, and individually praised her during the meeting for her 26 years of service to the county’s corrections department as well as her 30 years of service in the U.S. Army.
“As a councilman who represents the detention center, it’s important to have good relationships with the director,” Councilman David Marks said during the legislative session. “We had that for the past seven years and I look forward to working with Ms. Watts in the future.”
Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced his nomination of Watts earlier this month in an official statement on the Baltimore County government’s website. The previous director, Deborah Richardson, retired from her position on Oct. 13 after 15 years of service for the county.
Several friends and family members were present in support of Watts in the council chambers of the Historic Courthouse in Towson. Watts began working for the corrections department in 1990 as a correctional officer and gradually rose to various supervisory positions over the years.
“I think, now, we will have three female directors in the Baltimore County Government, so I’m also excited about that,” Councilwoman Cathy Bevins said during the legislative session.
Watts was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.
In other action, the council voted 6-0 to approve a contract to temporarily lease 320 to 330 parking spaces in the Towson Square Garage for use by employees of the Baltimore County Police Department.
The garage is currently operated by the Baltimore County Revenue Authority, a separate county agency. The county will pay the Revenue Authority $55 per month per parking space from Aug. 17 until Dec. 31, 2018 for an estimated total of $272,250 in compensation.
The council previously approved the donation of three decommissioned school buses from Baltimore County Public Schools to transport Police Department personnel to and from the Towson Square Garage to the Public Safety Building on East Joppa Road during a legislative session on Sept. 18.
The agreement means that police department employees will have parking until the Public Safety Building’s new parking garage is constructed between October 2017 and December 2018.