Councilman Joseph T. "Jody" Landers, D-3rd, plans to announce his candidacy today for comptroller of Baltimore, a job held by Hyman A. Pressman since 1963.
Along with the president of the City Council, the comptroller is one of two independent voices on the five-member, mayor-dominated Board of Estimates, which controls how the city's $1.3 billion operating budget is spent.
Mr. Landers, 37, a former executive director of the HARBEL Community Organization Inc. and a licensed real estate agent, said he would use the comptroller's office to keep an eye on municipal spending and press for lower property taxes.
"The office of comptroller has been, while Mr. Pressman has been in office, an independent fiscal watchdog position," said Mr. Landers, who was elected to the council in 1983 and again in 1987. "I think my experience on the council establishes me as a viable candidate in that tradition."
Mr. Pressman, who has sharply curtailed his involvement in Board of Estimates business since suffering a stroke, has said he will not seek re-election to the office he has held since 1963 -- seven municipal elections ago.
For the first time in a quarter century, there will be a wide open race in the 1991 municipal elections for the No. 3 job at City Hall and a new face in the comptroller's office.
At this point, a favorite has yet to emerge. Mr. Landers will be the second person to formally announce candidacy for the comptroller's job. Councilwoman Jacqueline F. McLean, D-2nd, threw her hat into the ring earlier this fall, and others are expected to follow. Among them are Register of Wills Mary W. Conaway, South Baltimore state Sen. George W. Della, East Baltimore Delegate John W. Douglass and Councilman Carl Stokes, D-2nd.
Mr. Landers, who is scheduled to officially open his campaign headquarters at the Parkside Shopping Center on Belair Road at 3 p.m. today, plans to tour the city to meet voters during the day, making stops at the Cross Street Market, the Dominic "Mimi" DiPietro Ice Rink and the Reisterstown Road Plaza.