A Washington County commissioner, who was expected to face strong questioning from the Maryland Senate’s nominations committee this week, resigned on Friday.
Vincent G. “Woody” Spong was sworn in as an acting commissioner last year, but his selection drew controversy after racist and sexist comments that he allegedly made surfaced.
On Friday, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) asked the Senate executive nominations committee, which was scheduled to take up Spong’s appointment on Monday, to reject the nomination.
“Mr. Spong is not the choice of Governor Hogan and the administration, therefore urges the Executive Nominations Committee to vote against this individual,” Dennis R. Schrader, Hogan’s appointments secretary, wrote in a letter Friday to Sen. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Montgomery), chairman of the committee.
Raskin informed the committee members of Spong’s resignation on Monday night and the senators voted against the nominee.
Spong could not be reached for comment.
Schrader’s letter to Raskin said Hogan was given Spong’s name by the Washington County Republican Central Committee to fill the remainder of a term of former Commissioner William J. Wivell, who joined the House of Delegates. Spong was the only name forwarded by the committee and “Maryland law forces the Governor against his will to appoint the candidate submitted by the central committee to an interim appointment.”
Schrader’s letter was the second one asking the committee to reject Spong’s nomination.
The Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault and the Women’s Law Center of Maryland sent a joint letter opposing the nomination. They said that Spong allegedly told Donna Brightman, the president of the county Board of Education, that “facts are like whores, once you get them on their back, they’ll do whatever.”
Brightman filed a complaint, according to the letter.
“We share this information with you and the committee as we believe it to be relevant to Mr. Spong’s fitness to serve as a public official,” the letter reads.
A meme also surfaced last year on Spong’s Facebook page that also raised questions about his fitness for public office.
“It was announced last week that Buckwheat, of Our Gang fame, has converted to the Muslim faith and has changed his name to ‘Kareem of Wheat.’ Let’s just hope he doesn’t become a cereal killer,” the meme reads.
Ryan Miner, a political blogger, first reported about the meme in December. It has been removed from Spong’s Facebook page.