Baltimore City Has Yet To Establish A Review Committee For Its ‘Constitution’ Two Years After The Deadline

Exterior of Baltimore City Hall. Photo by Billy Wilson via Flickr.

What’s happening?

Over 86 percent of Baltimoreans voted in the 2020 general election to create the Charter Review Commission —a committee meant to review the city charter and propose changes to the mayor and city council, Emily Hofstaedter reports for WYPR. Those revisions to what is effectively the city’s constitution could impact how the city is run. 

Though Baltimore government officials were supposed to establish the commission by May 1, 2021, they have yet to follow through. 

What are the specifics of the commission?

The Charter Review Commission is intended to meet every 10 years to suggest updates to the city charter—a document which establishes duties of city agencies and provides guidelines for legislation and policy making. Commission members will be appointed by city leaders, including one member for each city council member and three members each for the mayor, city council president, and city comptroller. While it’s the commission’s job to offer revisions to the charter, city residents will have the final say at the ballot box. 

Several city council members have already put forth their nominations for the commission, though Councilmember James Torrence told WYPR that the original deadline to establish the commission was unrealistic. 

“I think that two years is unintentionally too long,” Torrence said. “The reason why is because you don’t want to get it wrong. You’d be disappointed with people who just sit there and just don’t do anything… because they’re not sure what to do or where to start from.”

Anything else I should know? 

In response, Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott told WYPR in a statement that “The Administration follows a rigorous review and vetting process to select candidates for all city boards and commissions, including the Charter Review Commission. This guarantees that we appoint highly qualified individuals who will make well-informed decisions that positively impact our community.”

You can read more here. 

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