Good afternoon. I want to thank you all for coming today so I can provide to you and to the citizens of Baltimore an update regarding transition activities currently under way.
Before I begin I would like to thank all of the many city officials, staff, citizens, community leaders and elected officials, not just in Baltimore and Maryland, but throughout the country who have expressed to me their sincere desire to support the city of Baltimore and all of us during this very sad and challenging process. I can only tell you what I know and that is: Baltimore is very strong. We are united as one city with one future. We have already begun the healing process, and we will succeed.
I also want to thank Mayor [Sheila] Dixon and her team for their pledge of cooperation. My prayers are with the mayor and her family but also the city as we work together to move forward. As you know, in accordance with the Baltimore City Charter, I will be sworn in as the 49th mayor of Baltimore on Feb. 4. This is an awesome and important responsibility, brought on by very sad and unwelcome circumstances that I take very seriously.
During the next 30 days and beyond, my focus will be on ensuring an orderly, transparent and effective transition of power. We will at all times make the decisions necessary to protect our citizens and to continue the delivery of essential services. This transition process has begun.
Yesterday, I immediately spoke directly to Police Commissioner [Frederick] Bealefeld and Fire Chief [James] Clack to emphasize the importance of protecting and maintaining public safety during this difficult time, and that these protections must continue without interruption. Last night I also contacted and spoke to more than a dozen city, state and federal leaders, including Gov. [Martin] O'Malley, members of the Maryland congressional delegation, city council members - who I'm grateful to you for being here today - county executives and state legislators. I will continue to do so in the coming hours and days.
Today, I have asked the administration to take steps to ensure the preservation of all public records, including e-mails and other documents. I have also made it clear that I will continue my meetings with agency heads. I have asked that all pending contracts and announcements be submitted to my office for review. I have asked that all agency heads and department directors submit a short status report that includes immediate action items, budget information, legislative items and an analysis of strengths, weaknesses and opportunities, due by Jan. 8, 2010, by 5 p.m. I've also asked for a summary from the law department of all major contracts signed within the last 90 days, due also tomorrow at 5 p.m.
Let me be clear - none of us wanted this day to come. Baltimore has experienced a tragedy. Good people may have honest disagreements about the reasons Baltimore and our people came to be in this very difficult circumstances. But there is one thing that unites us, and that is our love for Baltimore and our need to do better in the future. The mayor, her family and our city need our prayers.
But Baltimore and our people also need decisive action as we make our way together through this difficult time. Let us commit in faith to work together, not just in the next 30 hours or the next 30 days, but in the months to come. Let us hold strong together as a city and grow stronger, because it is the right thing to do. And indeed, the only thing to do for Baltimore and for our people. Finally, I'd like to add a personal note.
Yesterday when I woke up, I had no idea that by the end of the day I would be discussing a transition of power at City Hall. But I'm the very same person I was yesterday morning, and that is a mother, a wife, an attorney and a lifelong and proud resident of the city of Baltimore.
Many of you know me. Some of you do not. Some of you may know my family. But rest assured that in the coming days, weeks and months, we will learn a lot more about each other. We'll get to know each other better. I look forward to visiting with you in your neighborhoods, homes and where you work.
I also pledge to give you my heart and my time so that we can protect our city and deliver essential public services. I also challenge you to do the same, help our city in its hour of need. Be active and involved citizens.
Give us your thoughts and ideas. Pay attention to this transition. Demand the best from your elected officials. You deserve it, and I will work with you toward that worthy goal. Thank you and God bless Baltimore.