How relevant is the Baltimore City Charter, originally created in 1898, in a 21st-century Baltimore? That is the question a panel of current and former elected officials will address on Tuesday, Feb. 11 at the UB Law Forum Symposium, “The City Charter: Does it Work for a 21st Century Baltimore?” The event is open to the public and runs from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Moot Courtoom at the Angelos Law Center, 1401 N. Charles St., Baltimore. RSVP here.
The symposium will begin with a greeting from Roger Hartley, dean of the UB College of Public Affairs. The panel will consist of former Baltimore mayor and current UB President Kurt L. Schmoke, former mayor Sheila Dixon, City Council President Brandon Scott, Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke, Councilman Bill Henry, and Johns Hopkins University Professor Emeritus Matthew Crenson, author of the 2017 book, Baltimore: A Political History. UB Law Prof. Jose Anderson will moderate the discussion.
While the charter has undergone some revisions, most notably in 1964 and 1994, some City Council members believe it’s time for a more significant update. Sparked by a scandal that led to the 2019 resignation and indictment of former Mayor Catherine Pugh, some on the City Council learned the council was powerless to remove her from office, short of a criminal conviction.
Some lawmakers also believe the power relationship between the mayor and council set out in the charter should be rebalanced, giving more power to the council than it currently enjoys.