Judge dismisses suit seeking removal of 17 city officials

September 20, 2004|By Doug Donovan | Doug Donovan,SUN STAFF

A Baltimore Circuit Court judge recently dismissed a lawsuit that had called for more than a dozen high-ranking city government officials to be removed from their jobs because they do not live or vote in the city.

Judge Joseph H.H. Kaplan found no merit to a lawsuit brought by Frank M. Conaway, the Baltimore mayoral candidate and Circuit Court clerk. City Solicitor Ralph S. Tyler said Kaplan dismissed the lawsuit Friday and ordered Conaway to pay the city's court costs.

"We said from the beginning that there was no merit," Tyler said.

Conaway's lawsuit, filed in June, called for 17 city officials to be removed because they do not live or vote in Baltimore as required by the city charter. But those requirements apply only to four mayoral appointees on that list, Tyler said. They are: Police Commissioner Kevin P. Clark, Fire Chief William J. Goodwin Jr., Housing Director Paul T. Graziano and Director of Human Resources Elliott L. Wheelan.

All four reside and are registered to vote in Baltimore.

Conaway was surprised by the decision but said he would not appeal because of his respect for Kaplan.

"He's made some spectacular rulings over the years," Conaway said. "I guess he has his reasons why he ruled the way he did. ... But I do think that he's wrong."

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