Family Left Hanging While Scott Coddles BGE

At botched board of estimates hearing, Mayor Scott decides the only business worth doing is his bidding for BGE. Family awaiting settlement for lost loved one can wait.

Wednesday, February 15th the board of estimates was to meet having many items on the agenda.  Among them, a settlement to Shirley Johnson & family compensating for the loss of their loved one, Elbert Davis Sr.  Davis was killed April 28th, 2010, when members of the Gun Trace Task Force illegally pursued a pair of men in a high-speed car chase through a residential neighborhood in NW Baltimore.  Davis was in a vehicle that was struck by the fleeing men during pursuit by the rogue officers.

As reported by the Baltimore Sun, the family was poised to finally get some closure at the board of estimates hearing at which the board was expected to approve a $6 million payout to the family.  (see board of estimates item).

That closure was put on hold by Mayor Scott’s rushed deal to give substantial control of the city’s conduit system to BGE. The deal has come under fire in recent weeks, with many questioning why Mayor Scott concealed negotiations with BGE until they were leaked to the media, as well as why the Mayor is trying to ram the deal through with break-neck speed and little input from stakeholders.  Coupled with a surprise rule change by Scott’s law department (in January) to board of estimates proceedings which stripped board member’s rights to defer agenda items to later hearings, makes Scott’s BGE deal all the more puzzling. The new rule requires a majority vote of the board to approve deferrals.  A majority which only the Mayor enjoys. 

These moves by the Scott administration reached a boiling point that resulted in a boycott of Wednesday’s meeting by the two minority members of the board – City Council President Nick Mosby and Comptroller Bill Henry.  Absent the power to defer the BGE item, the pair were left with no alternative for delaying the beleaguered BGE agreement vote besides not attending the hearing.

In yet another unprecedented move, Scott decided the board of estimates hearing would proceed in the absence of the board’s chairman (Mosby) and the Comptroller (Henry) – calling into question the validity of the hearing and whether the meeting met quorum requirements.  After a brief recess, the Mayor and his two appointees returned to the chamber, advised the attendees the hearing would proceed as he gavelled the hearing into session.  While the moment was bazaar and beset with defiance and somewhat childish stubbornness – it was what happened next that spoke to the true character of Mayor Brandon Scott unlike anything seen prior.

Scott called the BGE item and put it up for vote.  With only the Mayor and his two appointees present, the motion passed with three yes votes.  The Mayor then abruptly ended the hearing without calling any other items on the agenda for discussion or vote (see full agenda – click here) leading many to question why the BGE agreement was the only matter worthy of Scott’s time and attention.

In a passionate soliloquy, the host of ‘The Outsiders’ WMEG Online Radio – Sean Simms – discussed on his show this past Saturday what he viewed as insensitivity by the Mayor toward Davis’ family (Click Here To Listen).

iTeam Baltimore is interested in hearing your thoughts on the Mayor’s decisions on Wednesday. Please comment on this story.

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