City Council seeks more power, ways to remove a mayor from office

Apr 30, 2019

The Baltimore City Council is considering several measures to limit the powers of future mayors.  At Monday night's regular City Council meeting, members presented several changes to the city's charter, including giving the council power to remove a sitting mayor from office. 

The state constitution currently only allows elected officials to be removed if they are convicted of a felony or misdemeanor related to their public duties.  Acting Mayor Jack Young says he is in favor of the change. 

Councilman Kristerfer Burnett is the lead sponsor of a bill that would allow the council to remove the mayor with the approval of three-fourths of its members. The council could consider such a vote in cases of incompetency, misconduct in office, willful neglect of duty or if a mayor committed a felony or misdemeanor. The process would include public hearings and investigations by the council and the city’s independent Inspector and presented to voters in the 2020 general elections. Other related proposals include modifying the vote by which the council may override a mayoral veto; repealing the mayoral authority to veto “items of appropriation”. 

Also, there’s a proposal to establish a City Administrator as the Chief Administrative Officer of Baltimore City--- what some might refer to as a City manager. This comes as Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh has been on leave since April 1st due to health reasons.  She's under investigation for questionable book deals with businesses that work closely with the city.  Last week, agents from the FBI and IRS raided multiple locations tied to Pugh including her homes, City Hall office and a business taking dozens of boxes and electronic devices away with them.