Mayor Rawlings-Blake Introduces New Ethics Legislation

Crest of the City of Baltimore

Brandon M. Scott
Mayor,
Baltimore City
250 City Hall - Baltimore Maryland 21202
(410) 396-3835 - Fax: (410) 576-9425

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Mayor Rawlings-Blake Introduces New Ethics Legislation

Bills will add more clarity and transparency to ethics laws

BALTIMORE, Md. (March 23, 2015)—Today, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake will introduce four pieces of legislation to the Baltimore City Council that add clarity and transparency to city ethics laws.

Mayor Rawlings-Blake initially introduced a similar ethics package in 2012. At that time, the package of ethics bills were held indefinitely on second reader. This year, Mayor Rawlings-Blake has reintroduced the legislation and added a fourth bill.

“These commonsense reforms will add clarity to the city’s ethics laws and provide another layer of protection to ensure that public officials are acting in the best interest of citizens,” said Mayor Rawlings-Blake. “I am hopeful that the City Council will act swiftly on these reforms and work with my administration to continue rooting out fraud, waste, and abuse in city government.”

This is the latest effort from the Rawlings-Blake Administration to build public trust in local government through greater transparency. Previously, the mayor increased the staff and budget for the Office of the Inspector General to better combat fraud and corruption in city government; restructured the Baltimore City Board of Ethics to make it more independent; and tightened the ethics code for City employees.

The legislation introduced today includes:

  • Public Ethics Law – Prohibited Gifts – Closing Gaps (15-0499). There is a current prohibition on accepting a gift from any lobbyist who engages or seeks to engage in business with the City. This bill would add an additional prohibition on accepting a gift from any lobbyist who had been registered with the City in the preceding 12 months.
  • Public Ethics Law – Prohibited Interests – Clarifications (15-0500). Currently, a City employee who has an interest in an outside business entity may not contract between that business and their own agency. This bill extends that prohibition if the contract is administered by or benefits the employee’s agency or if the employee’s duties for the City include matters substantially related to the contract.
  • Public Ethics Law – Prohibited Gifts – Duplicative Exemptions (15-0498). This deletes the Honoraria section of the law (§6-30). The ethics board has expressed that this section is redundant and covered by other exceptions.
  • Public Ethics Law – Financial Disclosure – Repeal of Pointless Exception (15-0501). Currently, City employees who file a State ethics form are exempted from filing a City ethics from. This bill would repeal that exemption and require such employees to file both City and State ethics forms.

For additional information, view the agenda for tonight’s City Council meeting at https://baltimore.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx.

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