Laura Neuman, who was selected to be the new county executive, was greeted with a rush of applause moments after she received a majority vote Thursday from the Anne Arundel County Council.
Neuman, 46, of Annapolis, currently serves as the CEO of the Howard County Economic Development Authority.
She gave a rousing speech during her interview with council members on Thursday night, laying her whole life bare—her trials and successes in making her own way in the world. Neuman earned a master's in business administration without a high school diploma or undergraduate degree, worked at T. Rowe Price, and Hilton Hotels before earning a name for herself in Maryland.
"It is truly an honor to serve," Neuman said after she was selected by the council.
Want to learn more about the newest executive? Read Ellicott City Patch's feature on Neuman from 2011.
Neuman will be sworn into office at 10 a.m. Friday in front of the Anne Arundel County Courthouse in downtown Annapolis.
The County Council went through three rounds of voting before landing on Neuman as the next executive. Other finalists included Delegate Steve Schuh, interim county executive John Hammond and Dave Cordle, chief investigator of state's attorney's office.
In the final round of voting, Neuman had gathered the necessary four votes from councilmen Chris Trumbauer (D-6th District), Jamie Benoit (D-4th District), Jerry Walker (R-7th District), and Peter Smith (D-1st District). The remaining councilmen voted for Schuh.
As for her first order of business as county executive, Neuman said she wants to restore confidence in the county government, after former executive John R. Leopold's departure.
"I think we need to create a culture that is collaborative and has strong leadership," she said during her interview. "Without strong leadership, the rest of it doesn't happen."
Neuman also spoke of creating a "culture of excellence" within the county.
"There should be a culture here that expects nothing less than excellence," she said.
Patch spoke with Neuman a few minutes before the final round of voting, during a recess taken by the council. At the time, she was considered a wild card by some. She said she was excited to be among the finalists, and was honored to have made it this far.
Howard County Executive Ken Ulman issued a statement following Neuman's selection as executive, saying he had picked her as the state's first female economic development chief, and together they grew the cyber industry and continued Howard's position as having the lowest unemployment rate in the state, along with the highest private sector job growth.
"Laura will make a terrific county executive, and the Anne Arundel County Council made a wise choice. I stand ready to assist Laura in any way as she takes on this new challenge, and I know the citizens of the county will be impressed with her drive and commitment," Ulman said in the statement.
- Patch live-tweeted the County Council meeting on Thursday
- Click here to see previous posts about Leopold's indictment, trial and the process of selecting a new county executive.