Howard County Times
Howard County

Howard County Council considers reform bill for auditor’s office amid protests asking for Glendenning’s removal

The Howard County Council unanimously introduced legislation on Monday night to create official procedures for county audits amid continued public protest about an auditor’s office report last month that two council members say contained racially insensitive language and exceeded the auditor’s authority.

Minutes before council members voted, protesters gathered outside of the George Howard Building in Ellicott City to demand the firing of Howard County Auditor Craig Glendenning.

Joyce Stanley, Columbia resident and member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Inc., Iota Lambda Omega chapter, who was present at the approved event at the Central Branch Library, Ron Martin, Columbia chapter, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc. and Trent Williams, Columbia chapter, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., rally to support the termination of the Howard County auditor.
The protest over auditor Craig Glendenning was in front of the George Howard Building ahead of the County Council meeting. Their demands include; the termination of Glendenning; an apology to Tonya Aikens, president of HCLS; an apology to Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., Iota Lambda Omega chapter; and substantive changes to the procedures and policies regarding oversight and accountability of the Howard County auditor.

“These actions are certainly reminiscent of Jim Crow, reminiscent of a complete insensitivity to the community,” said Rev. Larry Walker, a pastor at Celebration Church in Columbia, who organized the rally.

Glendenning did not respond to requests for comment.


The County Council bill was filed in response to an auditor’s office investigation into an October event meant to celebrate a public library display on the decades of local community service by Alpha Kappa Alpha, a historically Black sorority.

Council Chair Christiana Rigby and member Opel Jones have been calling for Glendenning’s immediate termination after the release of a Feb. 14 report they say contained racially insensitive language, lacked transparency and exceeded the auditor’s authority.

The proposed legislation would amend Sections 212 and 213 of the Howard County Code to establish processes by which the county auditor conducts investigations. Prior to reviewing any alleged misuse of county funds, the auditor would be required to present the scope, rationale and a list of desired witnesses and materials to the council before initiating an investigation. The auditor would also discuss initial findings with the council before publishing a report.

“It sends a great message that there was a unanimous vote to late file this introduction tonight,” said Jones, a Democrat representing District 2. “It sends the message that council members realize the importance of talking about this now.”

The council will hold a public hearing on the legislation on March 20 and take action at its legislative session on April 3.

“History shows us when action is not taken, those marginalized continue to suffer,” Jones said. “This legislation is necessary now to show that action is a verb and that as council members we need to recommit ourselves for those we serve while working towards rebuilding trust within our community.”

Jones emphasized that the legislation is about reform and not reprimand. He said he and Rigby will continue pushing for Glendenning’s termination. Three of five council members must agree in order to fire an employee.

Monday’s rally included dozens of representatives from local groups including the African-American Community Roundtable of Howard County, Celebration Church, St. John Baptist Church, the nine international historically Black sororities and fraternities comprising the National Pan-Hellenic Council, the Jewish Community Relations Council and Howard County Chinese School.

C. Vernon Gray, administrator for the Howard County Office of Human Rights, at the protest in front of the George Howard Building ahead of the County Council meeting.

Speakers said the whistleblower complaint that spurred the controversial auditor’s report was an attempt to discredit library system CEO and President Tonya Aikens, who since assuming office has started a number of racial equity initiatives, including the creation of the Central Branch’s Equity Resource Center that hosted the Alpha Kappa Alpha chapter event in question.

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The original complaint alleged Aikens was using the reception as a “a personal gathering for her college sorority sisters,” despite that Aikens is not a member of any sorority and the meeting did not violate the library’s facilities use policy, according to a follow-up report issued by a library board of trustees-appointed committee.

“[Aikens] is such an amazing leader and she’s been such an important person in Howard County,” said Amy Brooks, a member of the library’s Racial Equity Alliance. “The library system has just been such a big impact in our community because of her work on equity and history. The idea that anybody would want to hinder that or make her feel uncomfortable in her role is disgusting.”

Columbia resident and rally attendee Joyce Stanley, 77, said it felt strange knowing an investigative arm of the County Council was observing her and her fellow AKA sisters at the October reception.

“We feel that we were damaged,” said Stanley, who has been a member of AKA for more than 50 years.

Walker urged community members to return in two weeks to make their voices heard at the public hearing on the proposed legislation.


“We’re going to come back on the 20th and we’re going to testify and we’re gonna bring large numbers,” he said. “We’re not going away. This issue isn’t going to go away quietly.”

To register to testify at a public hearing, go to