Baltimore deputy mayor resigns

Frank, Dixon holdover, to work with Johns Hopkins president

March 10, 2010|By Julie Scharper | julie.scharper@baltsun.com

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 the 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.

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 Corp., the city's quasi-public development arm, before joining the Dixon administration. He co-chaired Dixon's transition team and served as first among her three deputy mayors.

Frank, whose resignation was first reported by the Investigative Voice Web site, said he was eager for the "opportunity to grow and be challenged in a new position" and was not departing because of any conflict with the Rawlings-Blake administration.

One of Dixon's deputy mayors, Christopher Thomaskutty, remains with the Rawlings-Blake administration, overseeing police, fire and other agencies. Salima S. Marriott, former deputy mayor for community and human development, lost her job shortly after Dixon left office.

Frank is admired by city business leaders, many of whom asked that he remain in City Hall after Dixon left office Feb. 4.

During Frank's tenure, the city completed 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."

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 lost his city-owned take-home car, a 2006 Ford Escape hybrid, after Rawlings-Blake took office, mayoral spokesman Ryan O'Doherty confirmed Tuesday night.

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

The city's infrastructure significantly improved under Frank's guidance, said Downtown Partnership President Kirby Fowler. "He took a lot of time improving both our streets and our neighborhoods."

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