BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Two of Mayor Catherine Pugh’s top aides are no longer employed by Baltimore City. A spokesman confirms Pugh’s chief of staff Bruce Williams and main lobbyist Karen Stokes are officially gone from their positions after previously being placed on leave.
Courtesy: Baltimore City Government websiteREAD MORE: Aunt Charged In Death Of 2 Children Whose Bodies Were Found During Essex Traffic Staff
Mayor Pugh, who is under federal investigation, is still on the city’s payroll—earning roughly $500 each day. Pugh remains on medical leave. Her lawyer said he will meet with her Tuesday and promised an announcement that would bring “clarity” to her future.
Pugh is under federal investigation. Agents with the IRS and FBI raided City Hall, the mayor’s two homes, and several other locations last week. Mayor Pugh has been under fire for receiving almost $800,000 for her ‘Healthy Holly’ book series from organizations doing business with the city.
On Monday, the city council proposed amending the charter to remove a mayor.
Currently, there’s no way to do so without a mayor being convicted of a crime.
“The public was shocked to hear there was no mechanism for removal,” Councilman Kristerfer Burnett told WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren. “It’s much needed.”
But any change to the charter must be approved by voters in the next general election in November 2020.READ MORE: COVID-19 In Maryland: More Than 500 New Cases Reported For Second Consecutive Day
“Should the voters approve it, it will be tool for the city council to have in its toolbox. Hopefully, we will never have to use it,“ Burnett said.
In the past decade, Baltimore has dealt with scandals involving two mayors—Pugh and Dixon.
Several other measures introduced Monday would place curbs on the mayor’s power—including hiring a city administrator to handle day-to-day operations and reducing the number of council members who are required to override a mayoral veto.
Acting Mayor Jack Young says he supports the removal amendment for a mayor and notes there is a mechanism to remove other officials like city council members.
As for curbs on the mayor’s power, he called for more public comment. “I’ll let the people decide,” Young told WJZ.
Other measures—including a whistleblower protection proposal—would not have to wait until 2020.
“This is the time for us to talk about how we want our government to work without getting caught up in the personalities of the people in charge,“ said Councilman Bill Henry.