The culmination of an election campaign season that reached back more than a year will be realized Monday when Howard County Executive-elect Allan Kittleman and the County Council are sworn into office in a ceremony at Glenelg High School.
The ceremony represents the changing of the guard — and a change of political parties at the top of county government — as current County Executive Ken Ulman, a Democrat, steps down after two terms and Kittleman, a Republican state senator from the western county, takes over.
The composition of the County Council, meanwhile, will remain largely the same. Four of the five members — Democrats Calvin Ball, Jen Terrasa and Mary Kay Sigaty and Republican Greg Fox — are returning for a third term. The council's only new member, Democrat Jon Weinstein, will take the seat now held by Courtney Watson, a Democrat who lost to Kittleman in the county executive race.
The ceremony, scheduled for 7 p.m., will be in the auditorium at Glenelg High School, which is in Kittleman's home district. It will be emceed by National Public Radio reporter Korva Coleman. Clerk of the Court Wayne Robey will do the officiating.
The swearing-in will be followed by a dessert reception, according to a news release announcing the event. The installation ceremony is by invitation only, according to county officials, but will be live-streamed at https://new.livestream.com/hcpsstv/events/3593385.
Kittleman said earlier this month that one of his first acts in office will be to reverse an executive order banning the sale of sugary drinks and high-calorie snacks on county property and at county-sponsored events. In recent weeks he's named his transition team, and last week accepted the resignation of current fire chief Bill Goddard, effective Dec. 2.
Marsha McLaughlin, the county's director of Planning and Zoning, and County Solicitor Margaret Ann Nolan are also leaving. McLaughlin has said she will stay on for a transitional period of several months at the beginning of Kittleman's administration until a new appointee is identified, and Nolan, who has provided legal representation to the county executive branch and County Council since 2007, said she will serve no later than July 1, 2015, but would depart earlier after a successor is identified.
The new council will deal with several high-profile issues in its first months in office, including making a decision about mulching regulations on preserved farmland in the west, affordable housing in downtown Columbia and possibly revisiting the rate structure for the stormwater management fee. Kittleman, too, has discussed revisiting the stormwater fee issue.