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Baltimore Charter Amendment To Create City Administrator Passes, Heads To Mayor's Desk

Patrick Semansky/AP

The Baltimore City Council passed a city charter amendment on Monday night to establish a city administrator position that focuses on improving performance across city agencies. 

“I am excited about this momentous move toward professionalizing our city government,” said Council President Scott. “As always, transparency and accountability are my focus as a civil servant. I believe that the passage of this amendment will be an effective tool in the governance of our city.”

The bill passed by a 9-5 vote with 1 abstention. The bill was one in a package of so-called “good government” charter amendments focused on transparency and structure introduced  by progressive Democratic councilmembers in the wake of former mayor Catherine Pugh’s Healthy Holly scandal last year.

The duties of a city administrator are similar to the responsibilities of chief business executives; they both oversee logistics, focus on improving performance, and increasing government responsiveness to resident’s needs.

The charter amendment was introduced by Council President Brandon Scott, who argued that its passage would bring Baltimore City in line with the majority of Maryland counties and Washington, D.C., which all have city administrator roles.  

Charter amendments passed by the council and subsequently signed by the mayor become law by referendum; if Mayor Jack Young signs the amendment it will appear on Baltimore ballots in November.

If the amendment passes, the city administrator role would be appointed and supervised by the mayor.


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.