Where To Find? (WTF)
Name: Jim Harkins
Notoriety: Two-term Harford County Executive
– Calling the Emergency Operations Center and trying to explain why a 911 hangup call had just been placed from his house and why police didn’t have to, and indeed shouldn’t, respond.
– Giving away a parcel of county-owned land on the Perryman penninsula to a group of campaign contributing businessmen.
– Pounding the lectern, red-faced on the night of his re-election and leading the crowd in a chant disparaging the local newspaper.
– Introducing himself during a sit-down meeting with a rookie reporter as “not as much of a prick as everyone thinks.”
Last Seen: Reliable witnesses saw Harkins cutting up the dance floor at a Martin O’Malley fundraiser two years ago. Evidently, having seen the writing on the wall that GOP buddy Gov. Robert Ehrlich wasn’t going to be re-elected, Harkins was making sure future Gov. O’Malley would spare his Ehrlich-appointed job.
Current Whereabouts: At last check, Harkins, a retired sheriff’s deputy and career politician, was still in his Ehrlich-appointed role as director of the Maryland Environmental Service – a government agency created “to protect and enhance the state’s air, land and water resources.” Harkins left his county executive post and took along several of his former Harford County cabinet members and other local pals when Ehrlich tabbed him for the position. Harkins ostensibly works out of Millersville, although he pushed for a Harford County satellite office.
Future: Harkins was heavily rumored to have interest in returning to Harford County politics with a run for sheriff, but, unless canned from his cushy state appointment, he’s unlikely to return to the sordid realm of local politics.
Great new feature and even greater descriptors of Harkins. He is looking rather red-faced in the above photo. Perhaps he burst capillaries pounding on the lectern and now the crimson skintone is a permanent condition. How about WTF? shamed ex-sheriff, Joe Meadows,
Last I heard “Lil Joe” was selling furniture at that store that is closing down on Belair Rd in Perry Hall. Lauman’s, I think?
You know, in hindsight, Harkins wasn’t really that bad of a guy. He never did anything personally to me – except maybe hinder some investigative stories and stonewall me on what should have been simple reporting.
I had someone explain it to me before like this: Harkins was basically just a police officer thrust into the political spotlight by those who could see potential gain through his being in office. Harkins never really looked comfortable in the limelight and certainly didn’t handle the media well.
I have to say my general distrust of politicians stemmed from my early reporting days trying to get answers from Harkins. You couldn’t get the guy on the phone, he was never in his office, and he purposefully left public meetings early so as to avoid reporters.
There were rumors of a vindictive streak running through him, but I never saw it. Remember when it was alleged that Harkins called then-Baltimore City Mayor Martin O’Malley about canning two troublesome city firefighters who were raising hell in Harford about the need for a paid fire company?
I talked to O’Malley at the time and he denied ever having talked to Harkins about it.
I think Harkins sealed his political fate a few years later when he switched over to the O’Malley camp in the waning days of Ehrlich’s gubernatorial term. I also think Harkins is drawing both HCSO and elected official retirement checks, so the only reason he might run for office again is to regain some of his former clout – which seems unlikely.
And as far as ‘Lil’ Joe Meadows goes, stay tuned to a future episode of WTF?
Hiram Lodgepole says
said it before and i’ll say it again…”joe meadows was a good sheriff, a good administrator and didn’t take a lot of crap from the Union….his problem was his pecker, plain and simple…in a very short period in his administration he gave the go-ahead order to shoot a man who was pouring gasoline on his wife and holding her with a threat to kill her…Joe said ‘take him out’ and unfortunately the shot didn’t kill the bastard….
that took guts…something that a lot of men don’t have…all said and done, Joe was good at the job, not so hot under the desk…
HMMM….I want to see the sherrifs training manual…the chapter on politics after retirement…..I see a trend !
i hope to god the man doesnt run for sheriff and maybe his wife called 911 could only imagine why lol
Law Baby says
One thing that you missed in the “Know For” Section. Harkins as known for starting the Comprehensive Rezoning process. In the midsts of hundreds of properties around the County being zoned, Harkins leaves during his term as County Executive, to take his cushy State job at the MDE. Unfortunately, him doing that paved the way for David Craig to come in and stop the entire process by insisting that the Zoning Code be re-written. Harkins’ lack of concern for the property owners of Harford County resulted in the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars to those owners in filing fees and other processing fees of their applications. When Craig put a halt to the process, the County didn’t refund those fees – it kept them. That is why, when Comp Rezoning was started back up under Craig, you saw a substantial dip in the amount of applications. People simply didn’t have the money to put up again! Harkins’ selfishness and lack of concern for his constituency made a normal process into a bloody mess. I hope he never comes back.