District Three City Councilman Ryan Dorsey and the Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition unveiled a charter amendment that calls for an independent inspector general Thursday. The group needs 15,000 signatures on a petition and approval from city council and the mayor’s office to get the amendment on the November ballot.
Isabel Mercedes Cumming, the city’s current inspector general, serves at the pleasure of the mayor. Marceline White, executive director of the Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition, would like to change that.
“We need the OIG’s office to be independent, the office of the inspector general, so the office is not political nor politicized," says White.
The charter amendment would require the inspector general to be appointed by a diverse advisory board for a six-year terms, give the IG subpoena powers without approval of the city solicitor and provide permanent annual funding for the office.
Dorsey says it is the upcoming elections that make this an important moment for Baltimore residents.
“Election years are a really important time for others and for advocates to directly impact the future of our city," says Dorsey.
The group also introduced BCAT, the Baltimore Committee for Accountability and Tranparency, to help gather signatures and establish the OIG.
“Transparency and accountability are critical functions for consumers to protect themselves, and for city government to uphold for its residents.”
Cumming says she is in favor of her office being independent from Baltimore politics. Dorsey has the support of at least half the city. and Mayor Catherine Pugh in an email wrote she agrees with codifying the OIG office into the city's charter, and is withhold her decision till the Charter Review Commission releases their recommendations in the coming weeks.