Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke will begin his second administration next month with a new city comptroller and five novice City Council members joining Baltimore's municipal government. This injection of new blood ought to help in creating a more productive partnership among elected officials at a time when economic hard times are squeezing the city into a corner.
If the bloated municipal government indeed is to be restructured and trimmed -- as Mr. Schmoke is pledging to do -- the mayor will have to forge a spirit of cooperation he never managed to develop during his first term. Otherwise, he may have City Council President Mary Pat Clarke grandstanding on one side and the new comptroller, Jacqueline McLean, haranguing him on the other. Both of them, after all, are ambitious politicians itching to go on to bigger and better things.
Yet genuine cooperation among the three top elected officials is essential as the city reviews the structure and size of government. Such harmony would also translate into a constructive relationship between the City Council and mayor. If, on the other hand, Mr. Schmoke and Ms. Clarke cannot get along, that tension is certain to be reflected in the tone Ms. Clarke sets for the council.