Emily Sullivan | WYPR

Emily Sullivan

Reporter, City Hall

Emily Sullivan is a city hall reporter at WYPR, where she covers all things Baltimore politics.  She joined WYPR after reporting for NPR’s national airwaves.  There, she was a reporter for NPR’s news desk, business desk and presidential conflicts of interest team.  Sullivan won a national Edward R. Murrow Award for an investigation into a Trump golf course's finances alongside members of the Embedded team. She has discussed her reporting on 1A, The Takeaway and All Things Considered.

Sullivan has also reported on health and education for WAMU in Washington, D.C..  She got her start in public radio as an intern at WNYC.  Sullivan also interned at The Village Voice, where she produced a music festival.  She holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and women's, gender, and sexuality studies from Fordham University.

In her spare time, she enjoys biking, watching Jeopardy and defending the honor of New Jersey, her home state.

Emily Sullivan/WYPR

The worst attack on journalists in U.S. history was one year ago today -- when a man entered the offices of the Capital Gazette and killed five people with a shotgun. The journalists who survived say that dealing with their trauma and grief has not been a linear process. They also cite remaining sources of comfort -- like their connection with each other and ongoing community support.

 

WYPR’s Emily Sullivan talked to four journalists from the paper about the shooting’s first anniversary. Here is what they said.

Emily Sullivan/WYPR

Last fall, Baltimore voters approved a public financing fund for elections throughout the city. Now, the City Council is considering a bill that spells out the rules and regulations for that fund.

Official photograph

Those plastic bags you get at your local supermarket, or just about anywhere you shop in Baltimore City, could be a thing of the past under a measure City Councilman Bill Henry plans to introduce at Monday’s council meeting.

The bill would ban plastic bags altogether and place a surcharge of five cents on other bags — like paper or compostable bags —at the point of sale or during pick up or delivery. 

Emily Sullivan/WYPR

The Baltimore City Board of Estimates has approved a $25.9 million contract with the ongoing Charm City Circulator operators to continue overseeing the free bus service for the next three years.

Errands Plus, Inc., which operates the service as RMA Worldwide Services Chauffeured Transportation, took over operations in October of last year after Baltimore sued the former operator, Transdev Services, for allegedly overcharging the city tens of millions of dollars.

Emily Sullivan/WYPR

Baltimore residents who face the most severe impacts of increasing water bills are disproportionately black, according to a new study released Tuesday.

The report, conducted by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, which is independent from the NAACP, comes as the Baltimore City Council considers the Water Accountability & Equity Act.

Emily Sullivan

Danielle McCray was sworn in as the 2nd district city council member by Mayor Jack Young in a ceremony Tuesday afternoon, capping the end of a series of office transitions that began after former mayor Catherine Pugh’s resignation.

McCray served as an aide to City Council President Brandon Scott when he represented the Northeast Baltimore district. She spent five years handling constituent and policy issues.

Emily Sullivan/WYPR

A new community garden for veterans experiencing homelessness or addiction and Sandtown-Winchester community members opened last week.

The garden spans three formerly vacant lots in the 1600 block of Baker Street. Now, there’s a circle of rocks for group therapy sessions, flowers, trees, and a paved, sloping sidewalk already loved by neighborhood kids on bikes and scooters.

Emily Sullivan

About a third of Baltimore city employees have regained email access as officials continue their work to restore digital services after the May 7 cyberattack that crippled the city’s computer system.

Around 90 percent of employees are expected to regain online access by the end of this week, and the city has developed two new workarounds to pay traffic tickets and water bills, city officials said during a news conference Tuesday.

Emily Sullivan/WYPR

The second district vacancy committee tapped Danielle McCray out of 14 eligible candidates Thursday for an empty City Council position, filling the final seat in a round of political musical chairs that began when former Mayor Catherine Pugh resigned.

McCray was the odds-on favorite to get the job. She had worked as an aide to City Council President Brandon Scott when he held the second district seat, handling constituent issues for five years, and knew the second district neighborhood association leaders who made up the bulk of the committee.

AP/Patrick Semansky

A pool of 22 candidates has hopes of filling the Baltimore City Council seat vacated when Second District Councilman Brandon Scott became Council President.

 A 13-member committee that includes council members Shannon Sneed and Zeke Cohen as well as a variety of second district neighborhood association leaders will select the future council member.

Lauren Watley, Baltimore County Government

“Excruciating,” “trying,” “the most difficult in recent memory” — that’s how Baltimore County Council members described the process of finalizing the $3.43 billion budget they passed Thursday morning.

The budget for the next fiscal year included the first income tax hike in more than a generation and other tax increases in an attempt to close an $81 million county deficit.

After ransomware attacks hit Baltimore City’s computer servers, the city’s lien system became inaccessible and kept prospective homebuyers from closing on properties. This week, the city introduced a “manual workaround” for homebuyers in limbo that involves paper and sworn affidavits.

Anonymous hackers breached the city of Baltimore's servers two weeks ago. Since then, those servers' digital content has been locked away — and the online aspects of running the city are at an impasse.

Government emails are down, payments to city departments can't be made online and real estate transactions can't be processed.

Emily Sullivan/WYPR

Ashley Merson has been scrimping and saving for a house for four years. She paid off her debts, got her credit score up and finally was able to make an offer  on a two-bedroom duplex house in Hampden -- and more than ready to leave her low-income apartment complex, where she, her young son and disabled brother squeeze into a one-bedroom.

But just as she was about to settle on that house, malware attacks on Baltimore City’s computer servers locked up the system, leaving her stuck in the apartment.

Emily Sullivan/WYPR

It’s been eight days since Baltimore City servers were essentially frozen after being attacked by hackers using ransomware. Officials said during a Wednesday news conference that complete restoration remains an ongoing process. 

City IT director Frank Johnson told reporters that his staff and a team of cybersecurity experts are working “around the clock” to recover service — but he could not provide a specific timeline for that recovery.

Emily Sullivan/WYPR

Single-stall restrooms in shops and restaurants around Baltimore could become gender inclusive — that is, not specifically designated for men or women — under a bill making its way before the City Council.

"All Gender," "Gender Inclusive," "Gender Neutral" or simply "Restroom" are all signs that could appear on single stall restroom doors under the bill, which would apply to publicly- and privately-owned establishments. Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and New York City have passed similar legislation in the last several years.

Emily Sullivan

Bernard C. “Jack” Young was formally sworn in as Baltimore’s 51st mayor Thursday afternoon, finalizing the passage of power that began when former mayor Catherine Pugh began a leave of absence in April. 

 

The swearing-in ceremony was not technically necessary -- Young officially entered the mayor’s office after Catherine Pugh resigned amid scandal one week ago. Instead, as Young and his team say, the ceremonial event at the War Memorial across from City Hall was meant to acknowledge the pain the city felt from Pugh’s scandal and to look ahead to a more stable future.

 

Patrick Semansky/AP

Computers in the Baltimore city government have been infected with ransomware, disrupting the city’s technology systems and rendering email and other digital communications unusable.

Hackers behind the ransomware demanded around $75,000 on Tuesday to release their grasp on the network. The incident is the second such attack in just over a year.

Baltimore City Hall

City Councilman Brandon Scott has been unanimously elected as Council President by his colleagues after four days of leadership upheaval following the resignation of Mayor Catherine Pugh.

Scott and Sharon Green Middleton, the council vice president who had been filling in as president, had been tied in colleagues’ pledges for votes over the weekend, until Scott own over a few more members, including veteran councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke.

Patrick Semansky/AP

Weeks after she was accused of self-dealing, a month after she took a paid leave of absence for her health and just days after FBI and IRS raids, Catherine Pugh has resigned as mayor of Baltimore.

Speaking at a press conference in his downtown Baltimore office, her lawyer Steven Silverman read statement from Pugh. The 96-second long resignation letter read in part:

“I'm sorry for the harm that I have caused to the image of the city of Baltimore and the credibility of the office of the mayor. Baltimore deserves a mayor who can move our great city forward."

Emily Sullivan/WYPR

 

Last night, the city council introduced a package of charter amendments that would bolster its power throughout the city -- and over the mayor. WYPR’s Emily Sullivan joins Nathan Sterner to explain the proposed changes and their timeline.

 

Patrick Semansky/AP

A package of charter amendments being introduced at Monday’s Baltimore City Council meeting would give its members the ability to oust a mayor and override a mayoral veto with fewer votes than are now required.

The three proposed amendments arrive amid Mayor Catherine Pugh’s ongoing “Healthy Holly” scandal, in which Pugh sold a series of self-published children’s books to the University of Maryland Medical system while she sat on its board and also took money for the books from organizations that were seeking city contracts.

Jose Luis Magana/AP

Baltimore saw another chapter of the ongoing Healthy Holly scandal unfold Thursday: FBI and IRS agents raided seven properties associated with Mayor Catherine Pugh.

Photos of agents wearing FBI windbreakers and carrying boxes marked “Healthy Holly” swept through group chats, trending topics on social media, and the media -- local and national outlets alike.

Jose Luis Magana/AP

FBI and IRS agents raided city hall and the homes of Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh Thursday morning.

They also took documents from the office of the first term Democrat’s personal attorney, Steven Silverman. In a statement, Silverman said he received a limited subpoena for Pugh’s original financial records.

Federal agents raided Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh's offices Thursday following investigations into her "self-dealings." She sold thousands of her children's books to groups under her influence.

Emily Sullivan/WYPR

The Baltimore Police Department is expanding its Departmental Administrative Hearing Board voting members to include civilians, ex officio Mayor Jack Young has announced.

In a news conference Wednesday, Young said the BPD is seeking a first group of 20 civilians to join the boards that rules in police discipline cases.

WYPR

In an appearance on WYPR’s Midday with Tom Hall, Acting Mayor Jack Young said it’s “frustrating” he doesn’t know more about Mayor Catherine Pugh’s ongoing leave of absence and that he would “hate” to see her return.

During the hour-long, live Tuesday interview, Hall asked Young what Pugh’s return to office would look like. “I really don’t know,” Young answered. 

AP/Patrick Semansky

As Mayor Catherine Pugh is out on leave amid allegations of self-dealing, the Baltimore City Council is considering a series of bills to bolster transparency in city hall. WYPR’s city hall Emily Sullivan joins Nathan Sterner to explain what those bills are, and how they came about. 

Official Photo

 

Every elected leader in the city of Baltimore has been asked by the inspector general to provide a list of the boards and commissions they may serve on, according to the ex officio mayor.

City Council President and acting mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young told reporters during a Wednesday press conference that he has given the inspector general’s office his records. Comptroller Joan M. Pratt and the rest of the city council have also been asked to do so, said Young’s spokesperson Lester Davis.

AP/Patrick Semansky

One month ahead of the 2019 Preakness Stakes, Pimlico Race Course’s oldest historic seating section is being shut down after an engineering firm concluded that its 6,670 seats are “no longer suitable to sustain that level of load bearing weight” of that many fans.

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