Anne Arundel council appoints new auditor, Board of Appeals members

Chase Cook
Contact Reporterccook@capgaznews.com

The Anne Arundel County Council on Monday night appointed a new auditor, new Board of Appeals members and apologized to the descendants of county lynching victims.

Assistant auditor Susan Smith was appointed new auditor effective Jan. 1. Smith is replacing Phyllis Clancy, who is retiring on Dec. 31.

Smith is appointed auditor through Feb. 4. The council pledged to open the auditor application process as they search for a permanent auditor. Smith will be the fourth auditor since Teresa Sutherland left in 2016 to serve as city manager under Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley.

Councilman Nathan Volke, R-Pasadena, said he was concerned about the county auditor appointment process calling it “cloaked in shadow.”

“I share concern there is no requirement for the council to publicly advertise this position,” Volke said. “I’m hopeful in the future the council will address that deficiency.”

Councilwoman Sarah Lacey, D-Jessup, was the only council member to not sponsor the resolution. She offered an amendment appointing Smith indefinitely but failed to get a second motion.

The council should have created a process to handle auditor turnover in 2016 with Sutherland’s departure, Lacey said.

By deciding to change the process now, a qualified auditor like Smith is being treated differently than other appointees, Lacey said.

The council passed unanimously a resolution naming seven people to the Board of Appeals. The council chose three Democrats: Richard Forgo, Scott MacMullan and Anthony Lamartina; three Republicans: Darrin Jacobs, John Fury and Maria Patterson. Unaffiliated voter Patsy Baker Blackshear also was appointed.

Only Forgo and Blackshear are returning members of the board.

Council members interviewed applicants Dec. 3 for the seven-member quasi-judicial county board. The board handles appeals of county decisions on zoning, permits, animal control and other issues.

Members are paid $5,250 annually and $75 per hearing. They must be registered voters of Anne Arundel County.

The board meets three times a week in the evenings and makes daytime and on-site inspections of properties.

Councilwoman Lisa Brannigan-Rodvien, D-Annapolis, introduced a resolution recognizing the deaths of five lynching victims: John Simms, George Briscoe, Wright Smith, Henry Davis and King Johnson. The council passed the resolution unanimously.

The resolution expressed support for the Equal Justice Initiative and apologized to the descendants of the lynching victims. The initiative erected a lynching memorial in Montgomery, Alabama.

Council vice chairwoman Allison M. Pickard, D-Millersville, and Council chair Andrew Pruski, D-Gambrills, also sponsored the legislation. County Executive Steuart Pittman’s administration also supported the resolution.

The council meets at 7 p.m. Monday at the Arundel Center inside county council chambers. Anyone who wishes to address the council can sign-up before the meeting begins.

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