Howard County orders audit of Domestic Violence Center

By Lindsey McPherson


The Howard County Council and County Executive Kenneth Ulman Wednesday ordered an audit of the county’s Domestic Violence Center, which has been under scrutiny for its leadership practices.

“Given the investment that the county has put into the domestic violence center, we would like to help ensure that their finances are in order,” council Chairman Calvin Ball said.

In a letter sent to Haskell Arnold, the county auditor, Ulman said he has “had growing concerns over the organizational health and stability of the Domestic Violence Center.”

One of those concerns, he said, stems from the recent revelation that the center’s new executive director, Annie Burton-Byrd, misused federal grant funds in a previous position.

“I understand Ms. Burton-Byrd asserts the allegations are untrue and has provided the County’s Public Information Officer with an email from her attorney stating that he ‘understands’ the U.S. Attorney investigated and closed the matter without taking any action,” Ulman wrote in his letter to the auditor. “But according to the Office of the Inspector General for the Corporation for National and Community Service, Ms. Burton-Byrd is debarred by the federal government and therefore cannot receive federal contracts or grants.”

Ulman said he doesn’t have any expectations on what the audit will uncover, but he thinks that it needs to be conducted to expose any other issues that might exist.