Howard County Council Member Liz Walsh (Submitted photo)

Howard County Councilwoman Liz Walsh issued the following statement relating to the release of a report by the Office of the County Auditor into alleged misuse of library facilities.

“The recent inquiry and report by the Office of the County Auditor should have focused exclusively on county funds and county resources. Instead, the report detailed all manner of personal information and observations specific to the private members of a revered African American women’s service organization, generations and families deep. At best, that irrelevant content reflected a lapse of judgment, at worst, an intentional and abhorrent one: that all of us are not entitled to the same benefit and enjoyment of our shared public spaces.

“The report by the Office of the County Auditor should not have described what it did, as it did. And for that, I apologize. I deeply regret the hurt and anguish that these actions caused among our community ― especially our African American community ― and I will continue to endeavor to remedy that wrong.

“These are the specific steps that I have proposed and am pursuing: (1) A neutral third party to review the existing body of work of the Office of the County Auditor — audits, examinations, and investigations; assess that work’s conformance with accepted norms and standards; and report such findings to the council; and (2) New legislation to clarify the respective roles and authority of the council and the auditor with respect to charter-described audits, examinations and investigations.

Particularly, my office is proposing a reassignment of certain duties and obligations now performed by the Office of the County Auditor to a newly established Office of the Inspector General.

“My hope is to begin to mend the community’s trust in our local government.”