In the first months of Brandon Scott’s administration, the query of whether or not Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby ought to have gotten Board of Estimates approval for her travels to Europe, Africa and the United Kingdom preoccupied his high aides and others.
Mosby, married to incoming City Council President Nick Mosby, insisted that a report by Inspector General Isabel Mercedes Cumming stated she ought to have disclosed her journeys to the spending board was useless unsuitable.
In one Twitter submit, Mosby wrote, “It is deeply disturbing that the IG has publicly criticized me. . . and utilized an ambiguous administrative rule associated to travel reimbursements.”
After Comptroller Bill Henry sought clarification, City Solicitor Jim Shea got here to the conclusion that the travel guidelines in the metropolis’s AM (Administration Manual) have been inexact, making it unclear whether or not Mosby was in violation.
The new travel policy settles the matter of superior notification “as soon as and for all,” Scott stated in 2021.
So at the mayor’s request, Shea and City Administrator Christopher Shorter convened a Travel Rule Work Group. Following three months of examine, the panel got here up with new procedures designed “to make sure [that] all public officers obtain clear and constant steering in relation to travel and notification policy as soon as and for all,” Scott declared in a May 19, 2021 press launch.
The key change required that any travel undertaken by metropolis staff costing over $800 (or $100 if paid by a 3rd occasion) should be disclosed and OKed forward of time by the Board of Estimates.
Travel overseas and journeys masking a number of weekend days additionally wanted superior approval by the board.
Shea hailed the new guidelines as “per Mayor Scott’s pledge to deliver transparency and accountability to City authorities.”
A Bumpy Enactment
A vote to approve the new policy, nevertheless, didn’t go easily.
Nick Mosby twice requested the board to delay motion on the modifications. Then, at a tempestuous assembly on June 9, 2021, he abstained, pointedly noting that the guidelines solely utilized to the 17 elected officers at City Hall.
As The Brew then famous:
“Missing from the lineup was his spouse’s place. Was Nick Mosby suggesting that the state’s legal professional was exempt? Neither the mayor nor lawyer Shea challenged Mosby’s statements. Later, Scott stated the new insurance policies would cowl 18 elected positions, together with the state’s legal professional, and would change into efficient.”
After the vote, Marilyn Mosby claimed credit score for the new travel policy.
The revised guidelines have been permitted that day by Scott, Shea and Deputy DPW Director Matthew Garbark. After failing to desk the measure, Henry voted no.
After the vote, Marilyn Mosby claimed credit score for the new travel policy. She launched a press release saying, “As I’ve all the time disclosed all my work-related travel, I’m in help of the board’s determination to require metropolis elected officers to formally do the similar.”
• New travel guidelines permitted as Marilyn Mosby haunts a Board of Estimates assembly (6/9/21)
What Travel Rules?
In gentle of this background, contemplate what occurred at yesterday’s BOE:
A request for $9,000-plus in travel prices incurred by Nick Mosby’s chief of workers was introduced to the board two weeks after the aide attended a week-long schooling course at Oxford University in Oxford, England.
Shea and Shorter (the latter performing in place of Mayor Scott) determine to approve the travel request, together with DPW director Jason Mitchell.
Comptroller Henry abstained, saying that he wouldn’t vote on “expenditure from a element of an official’s funds.”
Mosby supplied no assertion in any respect. Instead, it was introduced at the begin of the assembly that Mosby would abstain from the agenda web page that contained the travel request.
Thus, Anderson’s $9,144.77 journey to England was retroactively permitted yesterday.
And neither Shea, Shorter nor an absent Mayor Scott defined why they selected to desert the “clear and constant” new policy that they had championed a yr earlier than.