Baltimore Deputy Mayor Andrew B. Frank resigns

One of highest-ranking officials from Dixon administration announces his resignation

March 09, 2010|By Julie Scharper | Baltimore Sun reporter

Baltimore Deputy Mayor Andrew B. Frank, one of the highest-ranking officials from the Sheila Dixon administration retained by Mayor Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake, announced his resignation Tuesday.

Frank, the deputy mayor for economic and neighborhood development, said he will leave City Hall in May to take a job with Johns Hopkins University. "It was one of the most difficult decisions I've ever made and made even more difficult because of my admiration and respect for Mayor Rawlings-Blake," he said.

In his new job, Frank will serve as an economic development adviser to Johns Hopkins president Ronald J. Daniels, working on "neighborhood revitalization" with the East Baltimore Development Initiative and the East Baltimore Community School, among other projects, university spokesman Dennis O'Shea said in an e-mail.

"The university's involvement with the city and its neighborhoods is one of the most important priorities of my presidency," Daniels said in an e-mailed statement. "Having someone on my team as skilled and knowledgeable as Andy will sharpen our focus and enable me to do a better job."

Frank, 44, served as executive vice-president at the Baltimore Development Corporation, the city's quasi-public development arm, prior to joining the Dixon administration. He co-chaired Dixon's transition team and served as first among her three deputy mayors.

"I had an opportunity to write my own job description," Frank said. "It's been the best job I've ever had."

Frank said he was eager for the "opportunity to grow and be challenged in a new position" and was not departing due to conflict with the administration. His resignation was first reported by the Investigative Voice web site.

"It's been a great transition. I've enjoyed working with her and her staff," said Frank, adding that the mayor had asked him to remain in his position.

One of Dixon's deputy mayors, Christopher Thomaskutty, remains with the Rawlings-Blake administration and oversees police, fire and several agencies. Salima S. Marriott, who served as deputy mayor for community and human development, lost her job shortly after Rawlings-Blake took office.

Frank is highly admired by the city's business leaders, many of whom asked for him to remain in City Hall after Dixon left office on Feb. 4 as part of a plea deal in her criminal case.

During Frank's tenure, the city finalized a deal to revitalize an area of West Baltimore known as the "Superblock," maintained a high bond rating despite the economic downturn and experienced significant population growth downtown.

Dixon said that Frank's departure was a "great loss to city government."

"He's going to be tremendously missed," she said. "He was a great, great gift and was so in sync and in line with my administration's priorities."

Privately, many city officials had speculated that Frank was considered too close to Dixon, whose legal troubles stemmed, in part, from her relationships with developers.

Rawlings-Blake has publicly declared that the Baltimore Development Corp. should be more open and transparent. She made several changes to Frank's staff, dismissing one assistant deputy mayor and demoting another. Kaliope Parthemos, Rawlings-Blake's former assistant chief of staff and a childhood friend, became Frank's sole assistant deputy mayor.

Frank "is a good public servant who cares about Baltimore and he's been really helpful with the transition," said Ryan O'Doherty, a spokesman for Rawlings-Blake.

"I'm sure he is looking forward to having more opportunities to spend time with his family," he said, adding that being deputy mayor is a "grueling job."

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