August 16, 2012
It was with disgust that I read the comments of the city solicitor, George Nilson, that you published in on August 7 ("City panel plans to vote down settlement for teen whom police left shoeless in Howard Co. ") regarding the rejection of a police misconduct settlement. The city's highest law officer stated in open court something that many of us knew all along - that the Board of Estimates is simply a rubber stamp for the mayor of Baltimore because majority of this Board (three out of five members)
August 13, 2012
The Baltimore City Council gave final approval Monday to a scaled-down version of a bill to require regular audits of major city agencies, some of which have not had a detailed financial review for more than a decade. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said she would sign the proposed charter amendment, meaning it will go before voters on the November ballot. The amended legislation would require financial and performance audits of 13 city agencies at least once every four years.
August 6, 2012
In her recent op-ed, ("Where are the auditors?" July 30), Mary Alice Ernish reveals the failure of Baltimore City government to prepare routine financial statements much less perform annual agency audits. It's now obvious that a major turf battle between Baltimore's comptroller, mayor and City Council prevents acknowledgment of the extent of this financial dysfunction. Baltimore needs to move ahead and establish a comprehensive system that meets government financial standards. The lack of agency audits over decades is proof that the city has no standard system for proficient financial management.
July 5, 2012
Some Baltimore activists are fighting against a charter amendment that, if approved by voters in November, would align Baltimore's elections with the presidential election cycle - and in the process give the mayor and most of the city's other elected officials an extra year in office. The advocates are absolutely right that the proposal is not the ideal solution to the city's problems of unnecessary election expenses and low turnout. But given a recent state law change that controls the timing of Baltimore's primary election, voters should approve the charter amendment.
July 1, 2012
Baltimore's City Council this week voted down a proposed charter amendment that would have required that each city agency be audited every two years. And no wonder; such a proposal may be unprecedented in Maryland. A review of the charters of Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Harford, Howard, Prince George's and Montgomery counties reveals that they have no such requirement. No, in those jurisdictions, the charters require that audits be conducted every year. During the debate on the amendment, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blakeformally requested that the city comptroller's office, of which the city auditor is a part, investigate some agencies, including the Department of Recreation and Parks, whose books have not been audited for decades.
June 25, 2012
The Baltimore City Council defeated legislation Monday aimed at requiring city agencies to be audited at least once every two years. The council voted 8-7 against the measure sponsored by Councilman Carl Stokes, who appeared disheartened by the outcome. "I'm almost too stunned to speak," Stokes said. "The young people, fire, police, citizens in general, they're asking me, 'You don't care enough to show us how you're spending the money we're entrusting to you? You won't be transparent?