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Legislator: end mandatory terms for commissioner

Posted: 7:19 PM, Jan 28, 2016
Updated: 2016-01-28 19:19:47-05
When the city's police commissioner was set to be hired as the city's permanent top cop, a rift emerged between some one city council, a group of activists and the mayor over his appointment, mostly along the lines of two, key issues.
 
Del. Curt Anderson, D-Baltimore City, is seeking to eliminate further dispute.
 
"The last couple of commissioners have left before their terms were up, but because of a state law, there's a requirement that they have to be paid for their full terms," Anderson said Thursday, just before a house bill he is sponsoring was set to be given its first reading before a house committee.
 
Commissioner Davis' contract isn't set to expire until 2020, but it was the term of that contract that initially caused an uproar before Kevin Davis, then the city's interim police commissioner, was confirmed to be the Baltimore next police commissioner.
 
Objections centered around two aspects: a contract that would pay Davis $200,000 each year over five years -- which also leaves him on the job after Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake leaves office in Jan. -- and the right to 75 percent of a full years salary, or $150,000 should he be fired by the next mayor without cause. Many called the latter a "golden-parachute."
 
Rawlings-Blake has said she will not be running for re-election.
 
Davis was hired to fill the remainder of an unfulfilled six year term after former Commissioner Anthony Batts was fired in July.
 
Two companion bills being debated by the general assembly seek to end such term requirements in the future, with an effective date of Oct. 1.
 
Sen. Bill Ferguson, D-Baltimore City, sponsored the senate's version of the bill, and Anderson sponsored the house version.
 
"That's hundreds of thousands of dollars that the city shouldn't have to pay," Anderson said.
 
Both bills were given a first reading today in front of their respective chambers. Anderson said he sees no issues with it passing scrutiny, which he said would also include from members of Baltimore City's legislative delegation, on its way to a vote on the house floor.
 
Anderson is chairman of that delegation.
 
When asked about the bill Thursday, Rawlings-Blake said she didn't know enough about the bill to comment.
 
"For a commissioner's tenure to last beyond the mayor's tenure probably isn't good for the next mayor," Anderson said.
 
Mayoral candidates have said they will keep an eye on Davis' performance moving forward. None has said, outright, whether or not they would maintain Davis as the city's police commissioner should they win this years election.

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