Council advances bill for City Administrator, votes down term limits proposal
The Baltimore City Council has advanced a bill to establish a City Administrator position. The measure would change the City Charter by establishing a Chief Administrative Officer appointed and supervised by the Mayor. The person filling the job would focus on improving performance in city agencies, ensuring that accurate information about services is publicly available and increasing government responsiveness to resident's needs. If approved by the Mayor, the charter amendment will appear on the November 2020 ballot for final approval by voters.
The Council turned down a measure that would have limited local elected officials from serving more than three consecutive terms. Councilman Isaac Schleifer sponsored the bill claiming the proposal would help root out corruption in office and remind elected officials their job is not a lifetime appointment. If approved, the measure would have appeared as a ballot question for residents in the November general election.
In other council action, City Councilman Zeke Cohen called on the city to re-examine its response to behavioral and mental health crises. Cohen says police "are not always equipped" to respond to a situation in which a person is in crisis, and they should work in tandem with trained clinicians and mental health professionals in those cases. Cohen believes mental health professionals must be included in crisis-related emergency calls, and those suffering from a mental health issue should be treated by trained professionals and receive proper follow-up care.