At 29, William Howard hardly fits the profile of County Council chairman -- young, inexperienced, with no legal or legislative background. But last Monday night, the Republican councilman from Baltimore County's 6th District took the gavel and began a year-long stint as leader of the body of local lawmakers.
Howard succeeds Douglas Riley, a thoughtful and pragmatic Republican from the 4th District who like, like the new chairman, was swept into office in 1990 on a wave of anti-incumbent sentiment that set off a virtual revolution in county government. But Howard differs substantially from Riley both in style and substance.
A little-known real estate agent, Howard's defeat of Democrat Bill Evans was a surprise even to seasoned poll-watchers, and his victory was thought to be a stark measure of the level of voter discontent in the county. In large part because the core of Howard's support came from his affiliation with disgruntled taxpayer groups, he came into office a one-note council member with a marked ideological view of local government.