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Scott Taps Shamiah Kerney To Lead Office Overseeing $640 Million Of ARP Funding

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Emily Sullivan/WYPR
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Baltimore City Hall. On Thursday, Mayor Brandon Scott announced that Shamiah Kerney would lead the newly established Mayor’s Office of Recovery Programs.

Mayor Brandon Scott has tapped Shamiah Kerney, a D.C. performance management official, to lead a city office that will oversee the distribution of Baltimore’s $640 million in American Rescue Plan funding, he announced during WYPR’s Midday program Thursday.

Kerney will serve as the Chief Recovery Officer at the Mayor’s Office of Recovery Programs, a 10-person team that will vet and administer applications for the relief money, as well as report spending to the federal government and city residents. The mayor has set aside $10 million of ARP money to fund the office through 2025.

Scott also named Aaron Moore, the city’s assistant budget director, as deputy director and consultant Elizabeth Tatum as project manager. The leadership team will start on July 12; a news release said the remaining seven members of the office will be named in the coming weeks.

“The first focus is to make sure that the way we distribute these funds is equitable, transparent, swift, but also that we don't leave money on the table,” Scott told WYPR’s Tom Hall. “We developed a comprehensive framework so that we can keep track of the appropriate funds to make sure that these things are happening.”

The Democrat has set aside $130.6 million of ARP funds to stabilize the city’s budget, which was pummeled by the pandemic; local law prohibits deficits. About $50 million will balance the fiscal year 2021 budget, while the remaining $80 million will be saved for future budgets.

That leaves the Office of Recovery Programs to determine how to best spend nearly half a billion dollars. City agencies have begun to submit bids, which must be at least $250,000; the application process will open to non-city entities such as nonprofits later this summer. Kerney and other officials will use a rubric that weighs a proposed project’s equity, risk, cost and other factors in distributing the funds.

Scott has not identified any specific projects for the money, but has said he will prioritize “putting Baltimoreans back to work, investing in neighborhoods that have historically been left behind, funding community-based violence reduction initiatives, and closing the digital divide.”

Kerney was the Deputy Director of Performance Management in Mayor Muriel Bowser’s executive office in Washington, D.C., where she spent three years monitoring the city’s residential and business service and “assessed equity in budgeting decisions,” per a news release.

Before joining city government, Kerney spent 12 years as a senior analyst at the U.S. Government Accountability Office with the Financial Markets and Community Investment team, where she audited and evaluated federal programs related to housing, disaster assistance, insurance, small business assistance and the U.S. financial systems.

She earned a bachelor of arts in criminal justice and a master’s in public administration from Clark Atlanta University and has served leadership roles at nonprofits including the National Forum for Black Public Administrators.

As assistant budget director, Moore oversaw Baltimore’s annual budget and advised Scott, other elected officials and senior management on critical fiscal issues. He’s worked on ARP-related measures since federal officials passed the funding earlier this year and testified about how funds may be used before the City Council last month.

“We want to be judicious about our spending, but also swift when applicable to critical areas and impacted industries,” Moore told council members.

Moore also administered Baltimore’s financial response to the pandemic, including the FEMA public assistance reimbursement process and the CARES Act, which gave Baltimore nearly $104 million in aid. He holds bachelor and master’s degrees in political science from Villanova University.

Tatum was most recently a strategy and analytics manager at Deloitte Consulting, LLP, where she worked with civil government clients. She previously served as Senior Policy Manager at the Baltimore City Department of Social Services. Tatum holds a master’s in public administration from the University of Pennsylvania and a bachelor of science in English education from Taylor University in Indiana.