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Pugh administration’s game plan released

P. Kenneth Burns

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh released Friday a report prepared by her transition team that provided recommendations on how to improve transportation, economic development and other areas of the city.

For example, the transition team in the report suggests “changing the culture of transit and transportation in Baltimore starts with leadership.”

“The Baltimore City Department of Transportation requires consistent leadership that earns and receives the Mayor’s stalwart support,” the team wrote adding “the City needs a clear vision and agenda for its transportation system.”

There has been no transportation director since William Johnson left at the end of April 2016.  The department has been under an interim leader since that time.

Credit P. Kenneth Burns
Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh with members of her transition team. The mayor organized her transition team after being elected last November.

The mayor, at a news conference, said part of what her administration is thinking about when it comes to transportation requires coordination between the city, state and federal governments “to make sure we have resources that starts transportation in downtown Baltimore that goes to the airport; that goes to Arundel Mills Mall into the Arundel park area.”

“We have so many opportunities for job creation, job opportunities,” she said. “And we want to make sure that Baltimoreans get the opportunity to continue to work.”

The transition team also recommended reorganizing the Baltimore Development Corporation, BDC.

“BDC should reorganize into three divisions; one focusing on the needs of small businesses; a second on the needs of mid- and large-sized businesses; and a third division that houses the internal administrative functions of BDC and special projects/financial subsidy functions,” the team wrote.

Pugh further said that she wants to have someone at BDC focused on minority and small businesses in the city.

“We know we have a small business resource center, we have the SBA program, we have the [minority- and women-owned business] program; all of them on the same goal and mission,” the mayor said.  “Our goal is to create one entity that has a complete focus on that but not preclude them from the opportunities of BDC.”

Pugh said the details are still being worked out but whoever is appointed will sit on the agency’s board.

The report also has recommendations for other areas of city governance; economic and employment development, Healthy Neighborhoods, public safety and policing, education and youth development, permitting and sanitation.

The mayor said one recommendation has been enacted; putting the city’s permitting process online.

Pugh said she also wants Baltimore promoted better.

“I think Baltimore does a poor job of telling its own story,” she said.  “People don’t know what we have in our city. And we have a responsibility to share and tell our story.”

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