BALTIMORE (WJZ) — After a month of leave, Catherine Pugh officially resigned from her post as Baltimore’s mayor on Thursday afternoon. Pugh’s attorney Steve Silverman announced her resignation with a statement.
Many state and local officials have called for Pugh’s resignation for weeks citing her “Healthy Holly” book deals where she made about $800,000 from the sale of the books to companies that later earned contracts later with the city. After 26 days out of the spotlight, Pugh resigned.
Mayor Jack Young takes over the City effective immediately.
Young said he was informed at 3:35 p.m. by City Solicitor Andre Davis of her resignation. He released a statement shortly after.
“For the past month, I have traveled the city and worked hard to keep government’s focus on providing essential services to our citizens. I have spent time in classrooms working with some of the brightest minds our public school system has to offer. I have unveiled a number of development projects that stand as symbols to the commitment that many people have to our city. I have convened several meetings of the Mayor’s cabinet, where I have stressed the importance of teamwork in delivering for the citizens that we’re privileged to serve.
I pledge that my focus will not change. I have listened to the concerns of our citizens and I will continue to work diligently to address those concerns.
Although I understand that this ordeal has caused real pain for many Baltimoreans, I promise that we will emerge from it more committed than ever to building a stronger Baltimore. Charm City is wonderful and is full of resilient people who are working hard every day to move our City forward. You all deserve recognition, and I will spend my time as mayor working alongside you.
I’d like to also give special recognition and thanks to the thousands of public servants who’ve come to work each day under challenging and uncertain circumstances and put forth their best collective effort.
To the people of Baltimore, thank you for your faith in me and I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and continuing to work on your behalf.”
Gov. Larry Hogan said the city can now move forward.
“This was the right decision, as it was clear the mayor could no longer lead effectively. The federal and state investigations must and will continue to uncover the facts. Baltimore City can now begin to move forward. The state pledges its full support to incoming Mayor Jack Young and to city leaders during this time of transition.”
City Solicitor Andre Davis said Pugh’s connection with the city is completely terminated.
“Former Mayor Pugh’s connection with the city is now completely terminated. There are no further connections to the city between Mayor Pugh and the city. You will no doubt see very quickly and with all respect to Catherine Pugh, the disappearance of her portraits around city buildings. You will notice if you haven’t already a change in documentation in stationery and all the kinds of sometimes trivial things that denote a government. This is now the government of Jack Young.”
He also said his commitment to working for the taxpayers of Baltimore City.
“I came to city government about 18 months ago not just to work as a member of Catherine Pugh’s administration, but really to work for the city, to work for the taxpayers of Baltimore City. And my commitment in that regard is unshaken. I have to say though that in 18 months that I had to work closely with Catherine Pugh, I saw a woman, a politician, an elected official, who was absolutely dedicated to this city, to its people, to lifting up the vulnerable and I’m very sad. I didn’t think I would get emotional, but some of you may recall I didn’t know Cathy Pugh before I joined her administration.
And you may remember that I said no twice before I said yes. And I was just seized by her commitment to the city, and I know that this has been a very difficult period for her and it continues to be and I just want people to pray for her, to hope that she comes through this as a whole person. Because she is a human being. We’re all flawed.
So I wish her well. Clearly today she has done the right thing. Some people think it was a long time coming, I suppose in a sense it was, but on the other hand, sometimes we have difficulty facing what is in front of us in our lives and she has succeeded today in doing what she needed to do for the benefit of the city and its people, and we should all appreciate that. So from my perspective, it’s onward and upward.”
Baltimore City Council Ex-Officio President Sharon Green Middleton released a statement wishing the former mayor well.
“Mayor Catherine Pugh made a decision I believe to be in the best interests of the citizens of Baltimore. She has served the city and we are better because of that service. Whether it is her fight for education dollars, housing, and economic development in long-neglected neighborhoods and her focus on violence reduction in our communities, now the work must continue.
I am humbled by the positive interactions I have had as I have traveled around the city. Although this is a difficult time, Baltimore will move forward.
I, along with Mayor Bernard “Jack” Young and my colleagues on the city council, are committed to providing stability and re-establishing trust in government. As we begin this journey, we must remember we are One Baltimore and our future depends on each of us doing our part. I wish Mayor Pugh well.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings (MD-07) said he wishes the former mayor the best as she continues to restore her health, adding that he commended her for making this decision to “put our City first,”
“I wish Mayor Pugh the best as she continues to restore her health. No one ever questioned her passion for Baltimore City and its citizens, and I commend her for making this decision to put our City first.
I have every confidence in the leadership of Mayor Young, and I ask that you join me in giving him our full support. Over the past month he has demonstrated his strong commitment to Baltimore and his ability to direct the City along the right path.
I am pleased that we can now collectively move forward and be the architects and builders of the kind of City we dream of for ourselves and those yet unborn. Baltimore’s strength has been tested before, and we have proven that our City is full of hard-working people who strive every single day to make Baltimore a better place in which to live and work<”
“We will continue this fight together, working to shape the destiny of Baltimore as a city in which we all can be proud.”
In a joint statement the Baltimore congressional delegation — U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, along with Reps. Cummings, Dutch Ruppersberger and John P. Sarbanes — also issued a joint statement.
“As Baltimore’s federal delegation, we are focused on supporting Baltimore City and its federal priorities. We recently met with Jack Young at the U.S. Capitol and directly expressed our desire to work as a coordinated ‘Team Maryland’ to ensure the people of our great city are best served and respected by their elected leaders. We stand with Mayor Young today and will look to the future hand-in-hand. Baltimore City has many challenges remaining, but together we will strengthen our community, bring safety and security to our neighborhoods, and expand education and economic opportunities for those most in need.”
Senate President Mike Miller Jr. said it is a sad day for Baltimore.
“Today is a sad day for Baltimore. I wish Mayor Young best wishes in his leadership of the City, and hope Baltimore can continue to move forward. ”
Maryland Democratic Party Chair Maya Rockeymoore Cummings said Pugh’s resignation offers Baltimore the opportunity to address its challenges with “courage and optimism,”
“Mayor Pugh’s resignation affords Baltimore the opportunity to address its challenges with courage and optimism. I applaud the responsive and diligent work of the Council, who have put forth a number of reform proposals aimed at preventing a similar leadership crisis in the future.
In the coming months Baltimore residents and their elected officials will consider Charter Amendments and other proposals that will rethink the structure of City Government so that it can better serve the citizens of Baltimore. We must restore faith in the City’s leadership, and I think thorough consideration of these reforms is an excellent place to start,”
Baltimore City Council members reacted to Pugh’s resignation as well. They had called for her resignation together weeks ago:
Councilman Brandon Scott, 2nd District, released a statement quickly after the announcement.
“Today is a day of relief and accountability for Baltimore. Now the city can move forward with tackling the vast challenges facing Baltimore including improving our schools and reducing crime. I look forward to working with all of our local, state and federal leadership to get Baltimore back on track,” Scott said.
He later spoke with the press about future leadership with Mayor Young.
“Mayor Young is someone who has been around city government a long time. He knows it inside and out and I am very confident that he’ll be able to fulfill his duties as mayor in this interim.”
Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke called it a “sad day for Baltimore.”
“It’s a sad day for Baltimore, but a hopeful one for our future. We have stable leadership, we have a good police commissioner, we’ve got some good programs in place and with credit to Catherine Pugh for that. She deserves thanks herself for the legacy she has left in terms of our commissioner, in terms of our violence reduction initiative et cetera. So let’s remember the good things too,” Clarke said.
Councilman Bill Henry, 4th-District, said the past seven weeks have been “extremely trying” for Baltimore City, saying the former Mayor Pugh’s health and legal problems have added “unnecessary complications to the work of local government.”
Henry called those complications a distraction and said he was glad she had made the decision to do what’s best for the people she took an oath to serve.
“Among our many strengths, Baltimore City is resilient. As we all move forward under Mayor Young’s leadership, I pray that we come together as neighbors and strive to put Baltimore City on a better path, working towards a brighter future,” Henry concluded.
“I wish Mayor Young the best, I have high hopes for him as I would hope all Baltimoreans would. He is our mayor. He is the one responsible for moving Baltimore forward and I’m gonna try really hard to help him do that because I live here and I want Baltimore to be as great as it can be. The next 18 months are gonna be complicated because the first 12 of them will also involve the campaign for the people who are going to be running Baltimore for the next four years after 2020.”
Councilman John Bullock said: “It’s what we were hoping for. Now we can more forward as a city now that Pugh is now former mayor Pugh.”
“Now we continue to work as a city, we all work in our independent, respective districts. We keep that work going. Now we have Mayor Young at the helm and then we as a council have to select a City Council president and we’ll be doing that next week.”
“It’s nice, even though it’s a rainy day, nice to have the cloud lifted from City Hall in this way. Now-Mayor Young, he’s been doing a decent job, not only as council president, but stepping into the mayor’s role, it’s great actually having someone that’s been a council member and council president now being mayor, having the open lines of communication.”
Councilman Zeke Cohen said “Baltimore will move forward.
“I’m honored to be on a City Council filled with bright, energized, and progressive people, who work extremely hard every day for the people of Baltimore. We’re going to continue to do the work. Tonight, we’re holding a hearing on youth jobs,” Cohen said.