Dixon sends city bill for $260 in hair styling

March 16, 2010|By Julie Scharper | julie.scharper@baltsun.com

Former Mayor Sheila Dixon billed the city $260 for hair styling services over an 18-month period, according to records obtained by The Baltimore Sun.

Twice in 2008 and once in January, Dixon's stylist submitted invoices for "curling and styling hair," according to the records.

Reached by telephone, Dixon said she "occasionally" had her hair styled before taping segments for the city's public access cable channel.

The styling appointments "weren't all that often" and were approved by her former communications director, Karen Miller, Dixon said.

The stylist, Alithea Robinson, confirmed that she had submitted the invoices but declined to elaborate. The bills from 2008 were paid from mayor's office funds; it is unclear whether the 2010 bill has been paid.

The most recent invoice was for services on Jan. 21, about two weeks before Dixon resigned from office as part of a plea deal to settle criminal charges of embezzlement and perjury.

Dixon was criticized for recording and airing a farewell message, shortly before she left office, touting the accomplishments of her administration.

City Hall employees generally submit expenditures to an agency supervisor who forwards the request to the Finance Department for approval, said Ryan O'Doherty, spokesman for Mayor Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake.

Ryan O'Donnell, executive director of Common Cause of Maryland, a government watchdog group, called Dixon's decision to charge the city for hair-styling "tone deaf."

"Even if it's a small amount of money, it's the symbolism behind it at a time when the budget is stretched elsewhere," he said.

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