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Lawmaker files bill to expand Howard's County Council oversight of leadership nominations

A lawmaker has filed a resolution that could award the Howard County Council additional oversight of nominations to the executive branch.

The resolution filed by Councilman David Yungmann would create a public confirmation process for some of the county executive’s appointees. The process would require a majority vote from the County Council in order for all department heads and the chief administrative officer to take a post.

The council currently has oversight over confirmation of the county solicitor, health commissioner and heads of commissions.

Yungmann, a Republican who represents the western portion of the county, in an interview described the resolution as a means of transparency for the hiring practices of the executive branch.

In a statement, Yungmann said Howard is one of the only charter counties in the state that does not involve the public or the council in executive appointments.

Councils in Prince George’s, Baltimore and Montgomery counties are required to approve some leadership roles appointed by the county executive.

“I, along with my colleagues on the County Council and the county executive, [are] committed to increase transparency and public inclusion in government during our respective campaigns,” Yungmann said in a statement. “I believe this is consistent with that commitment and a positive step for Howard County.”

If the resolution is passed by a two-thirds majority of the County Council, the initiative will be sent to the 2020 ballot as part of a referendum vote.

Spokesman Scott Peterson said County Executive Calvin Ball “is currently reviewing Council Member’s Yungmann’s legislation and looks forward to discussing this resolution with him and his County Council colleagues.”

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