Howard County officials are praising Anne Arundel County's selection of Laura Neuman, the CEO of the Howard County Economic Development Authority, to be the next Anne Arundel County Executive.
County Council member Calvin Ball said Neuman is a "phenomenal" choice for neighboring Anne Arundel County.
"Having an effective leader who can work collaboratively with the County Council and Board of Education to move forward a compelling vision for Anne Arundel County will be invaluable," Ball said.
Neuman, an Anne Arundel resident for 21 years, was chosen Thursday by the Anne Arundel County Council to replace former Republican County Executive John Leopold. Leopold resigned Feb. 1 after being found guilty of misconduct while in office.
She was sworn into the position Friday morning.
Neuman beat out 15 other applicants, including the acting county executive, a state delegate and former first lady of Maryland, Kendel Ehrlich.
She has served as the Economic Development Authority's CEO since April 2011 after a business career serving public and private sectors. Neuman has never held elected office.
The Anne Arundel Council was required to select a Republican replacement who will hold the position through the 2014 election.
Howard County Executive Ken Ulman said he was “thrilled” for Neuman and the residents of Anne Arundel County.
He said Neuman is focused on good government and bringing jobs to Maryland and will restore credibility to the Anne Arundel executive branch.
“She’s going to bring a real refreshing presence to Anne Arundel County government,” he said.
During her time as CEO of the Economic Development Authority, Ulman said Neuman has created a culture of innovation and embracing entrepreneurship.
“I’m really humbled that the Anne Arundel County Council chose someone from our team to lead the county,” he said.
Howard County Council member Courtney Watson said Neuman is "exactly what they (Anne Arundel) need right now."
"She is a dynamic leader who will bring them into a new day," Watson said.
While it is a loss to Howard County, Watson said one of Neuman's strengths was developing people around her and the Economic Development Authority will not "skip a beat."
"I think they are ready to go," she said.
Neuman has been an advocate for entrepreneurs and startup companies in Howard County in her two years, according Chamber of Commerce President Pam Klahr.
Klahr said Neuman has been an outstanding chamber partner and described her as a "fresh voice with fresh ideas" who brought "great business knowledge" to her position.
"She will bring a lively entrepreneurial spirit to Anne Arundel County," Klahr said.