Surrounded by dozens of supporters including County Executive Allan Kittleman, Howard County Sheriff Bill McMahon announced on Monday his intent to run to stay in office in 2018.
McMahon was appointed sheriff in November 2016 by Gov. Larry Hogan after the resignation of former Sheriff James Fitzgerald amid allegations of discrimination and retaliation against staff. The county’s Office of Human Rights found that Fitzgerald retaliated and discriminated against employees who did not support his 2014 election campaign. A bipartisan group of local and state elected officials called for Fitzgerald's immediate resignation.
The crowd of supporters at the campaign announcement outside the circuit courthouse included several other elected officials including Republicans state Sen. Gail Bates and Del. Robert Flanagan.
Kittleman praised McMahon in his introduction, saying he was a man of “integrity” who treats everyone with respect. He lauded the sheriff for being “willing to stand in the gap” when the county needed him.
McMahon said during his speech that he didn’t want to focus much on Fitzgerald’s resignation or the investigation, but said the former leader had “violated” the values of the Howard County community. The former Howard police chief spent his first several months in office focused on restoring public trust in the sheriff’s office.
“It was an exciting opportunity for me to come back, to get to be involved with the Howard County community that I love so much,” McMahon said.
The top priority for McMahon moving into his campaign is the construction of the new county courthouse and ensuring the design is safe and secure. He also emphasized the need to train all of the office’s deputies in the use of the opioid antidote naloxone, as the county continues to battle substance abuse epidemic.
Looking to the future, McMahon mentioned his intent to craft a multi-year strategic plan for the sheriff’s office.
“You all have a great sheriff’s office here in Howard County, and I’m really proud to be a part of it,” McMahon said.