BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Governor Hogan signed a new law mandating reforms to the University of Maryland Medical System following a lucrative book deal for Baltimore’s mayor when she was on the system’s board.
“Much needed reforms and transparency at the UMMS board,” Hogan said as he signed the measure.
Senate President Mike Miller said revelations that nine members of the UMMS board had business dealings with the non-profit came as a “shock.” Miller called the new law “tough.”
“It sends a message to all non-profits,” Miller said.
The new law requires every current UMMS board member to leave — although they can reapply for their positions. It also mandates an audit of how the system awards contracts, and it bans no-bid contracts for board members.
The bill signing comes as Acting Mayor Jack Young has reportedly placed a sixth aide to Mayor Pugh on leave.
Sources said it is a staffer on the Baltimore Women’s Commission — who is joining Pugh’s top lobbyist and Chief of Staff — among others on paid leave. Their salaries total almost $700,000 annually.
Cristi Demnowicz is the founder of Represent Maryland, an anti-corruption group. She launched www.resignmayorpugh.com, which also includes a petition calling for the mayor to step down.
“I do believe this is a galvanizing moment if we want it to be,” Demnowicz told WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren. “We want to see her cooperate fully in any investigation and name names of anyone who was benefiting the way she benefited.”
She said she has gathered 500 signatures and counting but has yet to decide what to do with them. They may be presented to the city council or the governor.
Another goal is to make it easier to remove a mayor in the event of a scandal.
“We would like to see a recall process adopted where citizens actually petition to vote on whether to keep an elected official in office or have them removed and replaced,” she said.
Through her spokesman, Pugh said she does intend to return to the office once she recovers from pneumonia. The mayor has been on leave since April 1st.