For the first time in more than 11 years, the Anne Arundel County Council will be led by a woman.
The council voted unanimously Monday on a resolution to elect Councilwoman Allison Pickard, D-Glen Burnie, as the new chair, replacing Councilman Andrew Pruski, D-Gambrills, who has come to the end of his 1-year term chairmanship term. Councilwoman Sarah Lacey, D-Jessup, was elected vice-chair.
Pruski, D-Gambrills, was named chair on Dec. 3, 2018, after he was voted for unanimously by his newly sworn-in colleagues on the council. He was the only incumbent councilmember to return, as all the others were either term-limited or did not get re-elected.
After the council passed the resolution naming Pickard chair, Pruski passed the gavel to her, and she led the remainder of the meeting from her usual seat.
The County Council has not been led by a woman since 2008, when Cathy Vitale, a Republican from Severna Park, was the chair.
The chair of the County Council runs meetings and works with the administration to introduce legislation on their behalf. Although Pruski’s time as chair is up, not much changes besides a shuffling of seats in the legislative chambers. He will remain on the council through the end of 2022, the end of his second term.
“I hope that people will consider that I have tried to do a good job,” Pruski said. “I was happy to do it and proud to do it. I’m certainly not going away.”
Before being named chair on Monday night, Pickard served as vice-chair since she was sworn in last December. The vice-chair fulfills the duties of the chair when they leave their seat or are unable to make a council meeting, and they typically follow in the footsteps of the chair.
Before the council got to the business on the agenda, Councilwoman Lisa Brannigan Rodvien, D-Annapolis, presented a special award to James Howard. Howard, a 43-year-old Department of Public Works engineer manager, learned woodworking in order to build special coffins for Smith Price, a freed slave who founded the first African American church in Anne Arundel County in 1803, and a young man believed to be his son.
“Doing something like this, giving respect to someone who wasn’t treated as a top-notch citizen, can start to right the wrongs we did in the past,” Howard said in a previous interview with The Capital.
The council also unanimously passed a bill that modifies the purposes of the Mil-Bur Community Benefit District in District 3 to include the operation of community real and personal property and facilities.
They delayed voting on a bill that would require non-consensual car towing companies to have both a storage facility and redemption area — where cars can be retrieved — inside the county. It also gives the owner of a parking lot the ability to give a towing company blanket authorization to tow, if the lot is gated with restricted access and has signage indicating that parking without a permit displayed is prohibited. Under current law, parking lot owners have to give authorization every time a nonconsensual towing company seeks to tow a car. They adopted an amendment clarifying language in the bill, which required the council to delay voting on the bill.
A resolution confirming County Executive Steuart Pittman’s nomination of Laura Brown to the Board of Trustees of The Public Library Association of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County was passed unanimously.