By Sabri Ben-Achour
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake has been in office just 20 days, but she is pledging to make a clean break with the type of politics that preceded her. In her State of the City Address, Rawlings-Blake called for a new era of ethics.
"Those of us who manage the public's dollars must recognize this simple truth," says Blake. "These dollars are not our personal play things, they come from and belong to the people."
She was likely referring to the city's obligation to spend tax dollars wisely and to the ethics scandal that brought down her predecessor. In that vein, she said she hoped that one of her first acts as Mayor would be to give up some of her Mayoral powers over the city's ethics board.
"To make it more independent, to mandate more training and disclosure, and to allow for annual review and recommendations for improvement," she says.
Under a bill Rawlings-Blake introduced when she was still City Council President, the city council and comptroller would be able to appoint members of the Ethics Board. The mayor also announced she will hire a new inspector general to investigate fraud and waste.