Doug Duncan Appointed V.P. of Administrative Affairs

The University announced yesterday its appointment of Douglas M. Duncan, former Maryland gubernatorial candidate (2006) and former Montgomery County Executive (1994-2006), as the Vice President of Administrative Affairs. He replaces John D. Porcari, who left the post in December to join the incoming O’Malley administration as the Secretary of Transportation.

Among other things, Duncan will oversee the East Campus development project, for which the University recently selected a prospective development partner. Having survived as County Executive of neighboring Montgomery County, where transit projects (Purple Line), highway building (ICC), and growth (sprawl) perennially emerge as hot-button issues, Duncan will be well prepared to handle the development concerns facing the East Campus project.

We wish Mr. Duncan the best of luck.

7 thoughts on “Doug Duncan Appointed V.P. of Administrative Affairs”

  1. Wow, this is quite a fascinating appointment. As many people know, Doug Duncan was MoCo Exec during the redevelopment of Silver Spring. He seems like an excellent choice to oversee East Campus, especially considering that he may try to avoid the aspects of Silver Spring that are most criticized.

    Ironically, this position would likely not have been open if he had become governor.

    What are people’s thoughts on this?

  2. Duncan is a bricks and mortar Democrat who will certainly get things done in East Campus. Whether he “avoids the aspects of Silver Spring that are most criticized” remains to be seen. What aspects does Shawn refer to… and are these things Duncan (or the UM administration) would agree with?

    Another interesting thing to watch is whether he succeeds in totally destroying chances of the Purple Line ever reaching east campus (or Prince George’s County, for that matter). He succeeded in preventing the Georgetown Branch from being used for light rail and a trail for 12 years as County Executive in Montgomery County. He like metrorail so maybe he’ll push to have that studied for another couple of decades while we all totally drown in traffic.

  3. The current Purple Line study has two proposed alignments for East Campus: one alignment completely along Campus Drive and Paint Branch Parkway on the border of East Campus and another alignment through the center of East Campus itself. The University’s Request for Proposals to developers specifically asked each developer to make room for the Purple Line to go through the site.

    Second, Mr. Duncan’s initial opposition to the inner route (inside the Beltway) of the Purple Line was partly fueled by vocal opposition in Chevy Chase. Since Mr. Duncan’s new position is not elected, he won’t face the same constituent pressures he did while in MoCo.

    Third, Mr. Duncan has voiced adamant support of Smart Growth principles, which suggests he would support an alignment through the center of this new development. (Admittedly, many politicians say one thing then do another.)

    Third, Rethink College Park has it from a good source that the state appears to be leaning toward an alignment through (as opposed to beside) East Campus.

    Fourth, an alignment through East Campus would likely boost the property values of the development, thus the developer and its financiers have an incentive to advocate that particular alignment.

    Fifth, the MTA already concluded that every other possible alignment through the area is unsuitable, leaving East Campus as the only feasible waypoint.

    The biggest impediment to the construction of the Purple Line is financial: the state will not fund it alone and the project must compete with other Maryland rail projects for Federal assistance.

  4. Duncan persevered in Silver Spring after two major failed attempts to turn that downtown around. Most other politicians would have commissioned a study and gone on to some other thing on the public agenda. He is the perfect person to take East campus forward, and maybe he can apply a dose of smart growth to the M square office park as well.

    One thing not mentioned in the Diamondback or blog articles is Duncan’s support for the arts. Not only did he muscle the $100 million plus Strathmore Hall through, but he recognized that Silver Spring needed some clear arts amenities. American Film Institute, which reoccupied the historic Silver Theater, and Round House Theatre are the end result in Silver Spring.

  5. This is more about the Purple line than it is about Duncan:

    Is there any concern over the issue of overhead powerlines and their impact on the aesthetic qualities of our gorgeous campus? I think some of the best things we have going for us are –

    1. the visual, emotional impact of entering through the main gate up Campus Drive to the M (once you go up hill beyond the M, past Hornbake towards the Union things deteriorate a bit)

    2. Willow Walk. I love the conceptual master plans that show continuing the McKeldin Mall Willow Walk from the top of the hill near Tawes all the way down past the Admin / Armory Complex of bldgs, to US 1, and across 1 through East Campus and down to the Paint Branch (nice opportunity for a park) – this would make for a great running course

    3. the view of campus as you drive along route 1 – not just chapel lawn but also looking across the intramural fieds at the M and the 2 white columned buildings on each side

    Look, Im all about better transportation, improving the environment, and reducing the number of cars but Im also leery of negatively impacting one of our few positives, that being the beauty of the campus areas through which proposals show the p-line will run. Im just curious if anyone else has posed the questions/concerns.

  6. catenary lines have come a long way since trolleys were first built in this country. If integrated with new lighting, and if the light rail were part of a major face lift to the Campus Drive corridor including new sidewalks, trees, quality paving material, etc., the wires would hardly be noticable. Campus Drive would look a lot better than it does now and thousands could get to campus each day on quiet and non-polluting trains rather than by car or bus. If we get a quality East campus project and all the housing units projected for the Rt. 1 corridor, thousands more can come on foot. Also, let’s not forget a bikeway across campus. Biking could be a lot safer in the university district.

  7. Duncan was a terrric County Exec in MoCo for many reasons, but the thing that made him nationally famous there is not something that garnered very much local attention. Duncan negotiated an historic deal for government agencies in MoCo to purchase 100% renewable electricity (from wind, solar and similar sources). I strongly hope that, in his capacity as Vice President for Administrative Affairs at UMD, Mr. Duncan will continue and extend his leadership in this important area.

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