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Baltimore Officials Asked To Provide Inspector General With Boards And Commissions They Serve On

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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.

The office of the inspector general’s requests comes during Mayor Catherine Pugh’s leave of absence amid scandal. The first-term Democrat, who has attributed her leave to medical problems, was revealed to have brokered a no-bid children’s book deal with the University of Maryland Medical system -- while she sat on its board. She has since resigned from that board.

Inspector General Isabel Mercedes Cumming said that she cannot comment on ongoing investigations. Her office has not said whether it is formally investigating Pugh’s relationship with UMMS.

Young recently ordered a review of all contracts the Board of Estimate approved in the last 90 days, in which Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke said the Inspector General is involved.

The annual disclosure forms that each councilmember fills out asks them to identify things like stakes or ownership in a business, but does not ask for the identification of boards that each member serves on. The Inspector General’s request “is to close that gap,” Councilwoman Clarke said.

Council members were asked last week to provide the Inspector General with their information by Monday of this week, according to Councilman Robert Stokes, Sr..

Councilwoman Shannon Sneed and Councilman Ryan Dorsey, both Democrats, have separately asked the office to investigate Pugh’s relationship with Kaiser Permanente. The health insurer paid $114,000 for Pugh’s books while it was awaiting approval of a $48 million contract by the Board of Estimates. That contract was later awarded.

“We deserve to know that our contracts are the best they can be, and that if anything untoward were to come to light that families will not lose health coverage,” Dorsey wrote on Twitter earlier this month.

Dorsey, along with Councilman Eric Costello, Councilman Kristerfer Burnett, Councilman Isaac "Yitzy" Schleifer, Councilman Zeke Cohen, Councilman John Bullock, Councilman Stokes, and Councilwoman Clarke confirmed to WYPR that they complied with the inspector general’s office requests. Other council members have not returned requests for comment.

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 also won awards from the Chesapeake Associated Press Broadcasters Association for her use of sound and feature stories. She has provided news analysis on 1A, The Takeaway, Here & Now and All Things Considered.
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