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Council takes up bills to remove mayor and other charter amendments

City council moved the amendments through to committees
Posted at 5:32 PM, Apr 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-30 09:04:04-04

BALTIMORE, Md. — It's been a month now, and still no word.

Even after simultaneous raids at City Hall, the mayor's non profit and her home, there's still not a word.

RELATED: FBI agents search at Baltimore Mayor Pugh's Ashburton homes, attorney's office, and City Hall office

Mayor Catherine Pugh's personal attorney says maybe some news will come Tuesday from Ashburton.

ALSO READ: Attorney: Mayor still too ill to make a decision

City council members at their weekly luncheon began discussing a package of bills meant to avoid a situation like this in the future. And they were able to move the amendments through to committees on Monday evening.

Among the amendments is creating a mechanism to remove the mayor of Baltimore.

“It is really important and a big deal. Especially in light of everything that’s gone on over the last few weeks to give this level of expansion of a check and balance in a system of government,” said Councilman Kristerfer Burnett.

Burnett sponsored the bill that would allow the council to remove the Mayor of Baltimore with a three-fourths vote.

The details of what would trigger removal are still a work in progress that Burnett says will be hashed out over another year of public meetings and hearings.

In this instance, Mayor Catherine Pugh has not been charged or convicted, giving Ex Officio Mayor Jack Young pause, but he does favor the bill creating the actual process.

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“You can remove the council people, the council president and the comptroller, but there is no mechanism to remove a mayor. That piece is really, really important and I support that piece,” Young said.

Other pieces Young signaled he may not support take shots at the strong mayor power structure.

There is a call to lower the votes needed to override a mayoral veto and more power given to the council during the budget process.

It is a package of bills aimed at precedent setting mayoral controversy and a council's effort to get through it.

“I have a strong heart and so does Baltimore City,” said Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke, “And so our hearts are hurting a lot, but we shall move on and overcome this moment. ”

It is important to note, no matter what the council passes, these are proposed charter amendments.

If passed they will appear on the November 2020 ballot and would be voted on by city voters.