Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke told a predominantly Jewish audience in Northwest Baltimore yesterday that his administration has made "mistakes" but appealed for patience, saying the city would continue to move forward if he is re-elected.
"We've not been a perfect administration; we are all human beings," Mr. Schmoke said, addressing a candidates' forum at the Jewish Community Center at 5700 Park Heights Ave.
Mr. Schmoke's comments at the forum, which was sponsored by the Glen Neighborhood Improvement Association, came moments after former Mayor Clarence H. "Du" Burns addressed the audience and criticized the mayor's handling of city agencies.
Among other things, Mr. Burns cited recent audit reports indicating overbilling on some city contracts and such a lack of oversight over contractors that the city was often unable to determine whether work was properly completed or fairly billed.
"Some mistakes have been made, but we have made substantial progress and we are going to work with you to make sure that not only this area but the whole city moves forward," Mr. Schmoke said. He also claimed credit for a number of successes in Baltimore, including development of a finance corporation to increase homeownership.
Mr. Schmoke, who was asked later to elaborate on his comments, said he expected to make changes in his administration should he win re-election. But he would not say whether those changes would include the dismissal of any of his top aides or agency officials.
"We're going to look at it agency by agency, looking at the strengths and weaknesses," Mr. Schmoke said.
"I think it will be policy before personnel," he said. "I can't get more specific than that. We're thinking about ways we can deliver services better."
Mr. Schmoke, who appeared relaxed and confident before the group with two weeks before the mayoral primary, said he believes his candidacy is picking up momentum.
But Mr. Burns also appeared to have broad appeal among the audience.
"I don't see any clear-cut winner in this election," said Jack E. Miller, president of the neighborhood association. "There are a lot of people who are very, very upset with what the mayor has done over the last four years, very upset. But there are a lot of people who like him."