Baltimore Mayor Vetoes Contentious Bill That Would Make Elected Officials Eligible For Pension Earlier

Baltimore City Council members pose in a photo following a legislative session. . Screenshot via @baltcouncil on Instagram.

What’s happening?

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott vetoed a bill on Wednesday that would allow city elected officials to collect pension after serving eight years instead of 12, Emily Opilo reports for the Baltimore Sun. Scott’s decision follows a letter from Baltimore’s Board of Ethics requesting the mayor hold off on moving the measure forward due to a potential ethics violation. 

What is the potential violation?

Baltimore City Council voted 8-5 to approve the legislation, citing a need to adjust pension requirements following a recently passed ballot measure imposing two four-year term limits on the city’s elected officials in 2024. However, the city council vote would allow current officials to receive retirement benefits four years earlier, and the ethics board has raised concerns about the bill personally benefiting  council members regulating their own pensions. The city’s ethics laws require leaders to recuse themselves from decisions in which they have a personal financial interest. 

“The Ethics Board is concerned it is impossible for the current council, while in term, to have voted in favor of the amendment without giving the appearance of a conflict of interest,” the ethics board chairman, Stephen Fogleman, wrote in the letter.

Anything else I should know? 

The pension bill is only the second veto issued by Mayor Scott since he assumed office. City council members could override the veto with 10 or more votes.

You can read more here.

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