Howard Co. executive, other leaders call on sheriff to resign

WASHINGTON — Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman and three of his predecessors are calling on the sheriff to resign after the release of a report claiming that the sheriff discriminated against and harassed his employees, including deputies.

Kittleman wrote a letter to Sheriff James Fitzgerald saying in part, “I hope that you will move quickly to ensure that we maintain the public’s trust in all law enforcement personnel and resign from your position,” The Baltimore Sun reports.

Kittleman and predecessors Ken Ulman (2006-2014), James Robey (1998-2006) and Edward Cochran (1974-1978) also issued a joint statement saying that statements attributed to Fitzgerald in the report “run counter” to Howard County’s “shared values of inclusion and respect for neighbors of all backgrounds and beliefs.”

The Howard County Office of Human Rights issued the report after an investigation of complaints by former Lt. Charles Gable, who resigned in February after more than 17 years on the job. He filed the complaint in September 2015. The Sun reports he told investigators that Fitzgerald “belittled and berated” him.

Fitzgerald also is alleged to have used a racial slur about black people, made comments about women’s breasts, said, “African-American deputies are not too smart, but they get the job done,” and to have referred to former executive Ulman as “little Kenny Jew-boy.”

THE STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL’S OFFICE, which represents Fitzgerald in his official capacity, told The Sun that the sheriff, serving his third term, disagrees with the report. Fitzgerald is quoted in the report as saying that he’s a “loud New Yorker,” but denied discriminating against anyone.

People interviewed for the report attributed Fitzgerald’s alleged negative treatment to their political opinions and their lack of support for Fitzgerald’s campaign. The sheriff is serving his third term.

Kittleman is a Republican. Fitzgerald, Ulman, Robey and Cochran, Democrats.

The Howard County Council, most of the county’s delegates and state senators and the central committees of both parties have called on Fitzgerald to resign, The Sun reports.

Earlier this year, an investigation by the county auditor found that employees of the sheriff’s office improperly used union leave to campaign for Fitzgerald’s 2014 re-election, and the runner-up in the 2014 election says Fitzgerald never took the oath of office and doesn’t permanently live in the county. That complaint was moved to the Anne Arundel County Circuit Court.

Rick Massimo

Rick Massimo came to WTOP, and to Washington, in 2012 after having lived in Providence, R.I., since he was a child. He went to George Washington University as an undergraduate and is regularly surprised at the changes to the city since that faraway time.

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