Newsmaker: Faith Leach, the city's new Chief Administrative Officer
Tom's Midday Newsmaker guest today is Faith Leach. She has served in Baltimore City government as the Deputy Mayor of Equity, Health and Human Services since April, 2021. In that role, she worked on programs for squeegee workers and she oversaw the implementation of a pilot program to provide some young mothers with a guaranteed monthly income, among other initiatives.
Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott has now tapped Ms. Leach to be the next City Administrator. Scott championed the creation of the administrator position while running for Mayor in 2020, saying there was a need to “professionalize” city government with a non-political manager who runs the day to day operations of the city. Voters approved the creation of the position by referendum.
The position may have been envisioned as non-political, but politics were very much on display during Ms. Leach’s confirmation hearings. Last Thursday, after praising her job performance as Deputy Mayor and commending her for her responsiveness and competence, the Rules and Legislative Oversight Committee of the City Council, chaired by Councilman Yitzy Schlieffer, promptly voted against her confirmation.
One of the members of the committee, Councilwoman Sharon Green Middleton told Ms. Leach, quote, “This isn’t about you.”
You may ask, if a confirmation hearing isn’t about the nominee, then who, or what, is it about?
Perhaps the Council, in their wisdom, will answer that question at some point. But after a weekend of reported arm twisting, the committee re-convened on Monday and reversed itself, approving the nomination of Ms. Leach. A vote of approval by the full Council followed that evening.
As Baltimore’s City Administrator, Ms. Leach will reportedly be paid just under $200,000 a year, making her one of the city’s highest paid officials. She replaces Christopher Shorter, who left the city for a job in Virginia after less than two years as Baltimore's first City Administrator.
Faith Leach joins us on Zoom from City Hall.