EXCLUSIVE: Tomorrow’s meeting to assess Baltimore Inspector General violates city law

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The Scott administration today announced to the public that the Inspector General’s Advisory Board will meet tomorrow to privately discuss the professional performance of Baltimore’s corruption watchdog Isabel Mercedes Cumming.

The problem is, the City Code says such a meeting – which could decide Cumming’s fate as an IG – requires seven days’ public notice.

Notice of the meeting first appeared this morning on Mayor Brandon Scott’s Boards and Commissions website under the authority of City Counsel James L. Shea.

Asked how Shea could call a meeting on such a short notice, his chief of staff, Stephen Salsbury, responded to The drink by e-mail, asking: “Can you clarify which section 6-4 (a) (1) you are referring to, and where it says that a 7-day notice period is required?” “

Provided with the language below, Salsbury did not respond further.

Although paragraph (b) allows for the waiver of the 7-day requirement for an “emergency meeting”, this provision was not invoked by Shea today.

The statue goes on to say that if a city council fails to give proper written notice, “Such a meeting will be deemed to have no legal value.

On-Air, then Off

As currently planned, tomorrow’s meeting will be broadcast live from 2 p.m. on CharmTV.

The first item on the agenda, however, is that the meeting be closed to the public.

Shea should cite the section of the Maryland Open Meetings Act that allows a public body to close a public meeting to discuss “appointment, employment, assignment, promotion, discipline, demotion. , the remuneration, dismissal, resignation or performance evaluation of an appointed person. , employee or official over whom he has jurisdiction.

After voting on the closure of the meeting, the Advisory Board will travel to off-air for a “discussion on the annual performance review of the Inspector General”, according to the agenda.

In total, CharmTV’s coverage is expected to last until 2:30 p.m.

Mosby Connection

City law requires all city councils and commissions, including the IG advisory board, to meet at least once a year.

But the board was never met – and an evaluation of Cumming’s job was never requested – until his office’s investigation report into Baltimore state attorney Marilyn Mosby.

The report, which Mosby herself requested to refute a Baltimore Brewery article about her many trips and building a travel and consulting business infuriated the state attorney and her husband, newly elected city council chairman Nick Mosby.

• Cover of Marilyn and Nick Mosby by The drink

She demanded revisions to major sections of the report. When Cumming refused, the NAACP Baltimore president and others denounced Cumming as biased against the Mosbys and demanded “greater clarity and accountability” from her office by the advisory board.

Nick Mosby appointed two nominees to the board, Scott appointed two, Comptroller Bill Henry appointed one, and Mosby and Scott appointed two jointly.

At a meeting to find out how her office was operating in August, Shea and other members roasted Cumming for hours about her investigations, including whether she had taken “racial equity considerations” into account at the time. decide who to investigate.

“No,” Cumming replied, saying the investigations were mainly based on complaints from employees and “whistleblowers” of waste, fraud and financial abuse in city government.

The IG, which was appointed for a six-year term in January 2018, opposed the composition of the board.

She argues that allowing those appointed to political positions to assess the IG – with the power to hire and fire what should be an independent ‘popular watchdog’ – goes against established best practice, in particular when the members of the board of directors or their colleagues may themselves be supervised.

Here are the seven board members – and the mandate holders who appointed them:

Members of the Inspector General's Advisory Council.


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