FREDERICK, Md. – Frederick County Executive Jessica Fitzwater announces the appointment of longtime county government administrator John Peterson as Chief Administrator Officer, effective April 10. Mr. Peterson comes to Frederick County from Howard County Government, where he has served as Assistant CAO since 2019. He also has held management positions at Howard County Public Schools, Anne Arundel County Government, and the State Retirement and Pension System of Maryland.
“John has held senior roles in larger charter governments, which will benefit Frederick County as we build on the first eight years of our own charter government,” Executive Fitzwater said. “His deep experience in other local governments will help us as we align all facets of County government with the Livable Frederick Master Plan and our transition priorities.”
Mr. Peterson brings extensive experience in county government administration. He managed Howard County’s internal COVID 19 response, which included drafting remote work and telework policies, ensuring the work infrastructure and facilities were prepared and safe for employees to return onsite, establishing COVID protocols, preparing communications for employees, and monitoring COVID cases in the workplace. He has managed labor relations, negotiated collective bargaining agreements with eight unions, and advised departments on County policies and employee relations issues. He previously served as Deputy Administrator for the Office of Human Resources. Mr. Peterson also served as the Director of Human Capital Benefits, Leave and Retirement for Howard County Public School System; and as the Acting Personnel Officer, Deputy Personnel Officer and Assistant Personnel Officer for Anne Arundel County Government.
“John is a proven leader and consummate professional whom I’ve had the pleasure to work with over many years. His keen insights into human resources, budgeting, labor relations and the administration of policy and procedures often proved invaluable, especially in managing Howard County’s work force in response to the COVID pandemic,” said Lonnie Robbins, a recently retired Howard County CAO. “Frederick County is gaining a dedicated and well-respected public servant capable of handling day to day challenges to ensure the efficient operation of government and effective use of County resources.”
Selected through a national search to replace CAO Rick Harcum, who retired in January, Mr. Peterson earned a Master of Business Administration from the University of Baltimore and a Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Science from Saint Olaf College. He is a Society of Human Resources Management Senior Certified Professional. Mr. Peterson will serve in an acting capacity until the County Council votes on his confirmation. He will work alongside Chief Financial Officer Lori Depies, who has been serving as Acting CAO. Ms. Depies plans to retire at the end of May after 20 years with Frederick County Government.