On Jan. 22, Howard County Executive Calvin Ball joined former county executives in acknowledging 50 years of Charter government in Howard County. Voters adopted the charter and elected Omar Jones the first county executive in November 1968. Former County Executives Ken Ulman, Jim Robey and Ed Cochran joined in the conversation and ceremonial cake cutting at the George Howard Building this morning, where Ball sought their reflections and advice.

Former county executives Liz Bobo and Allen Kittleman were unable to attend. Bobo said, “It is difficult for me to believe that it has now been more than 30 years since I was elected Maryland’s first woman county executive in 1986. I look forward to helping with great strides in social, economic, and environmental justice during your tenure in office.” She served until 1990.

“As a lifelong resident and the son of a community leader, Senator Bob Kittleman, I fondly recall each local election since 1968,” said Kittleman. “In addition to establishing charter government, that election was significant because Rev John Holland became the first African American to run for a countywide office (county council). Charter government has enabled the people of Howard County to have more control over their future.”

Prior to 1968, Howard County was governed by three elected commissioners with four-year terms. The late Senator James Clark first proposed the charter form of government in 1965. The initial referendum to change to charter government did not pass and was revisited.