The announcement today of Christopher G. Thomaskutty’s resignation as deputy mayor of public safety and operations marks the third departure of a senior official in the Stephanie Rawlings-Blake administration in the last week.
His resignation, effective April 2, comes on the heels of the surprise retirement of M.J. “Jay” Brodie, president of the Baltimore Development Corp., and forced resignation of Rico. J. Singleton, Chief Information Officer and director of the Mayor’s Office of Information Technology (MOIT).
Among his administrative duties, Thomaskutty was responsible for MOIT, OpenBaltimore and CitiStat, which was the springboard for his rapid rise in city government.
Thomaskutty, 34, will become vice president for corporate affairs and chief of staff for Mercy Health Services, located a few blocks from City Hall.
Unlike his counterpart, Deputy Mayor of Economic and Neighborhood Development Kaliope Parthemos, Thomaskutty maintained a low profile, rarely attending public meetings and next-to-never speaking directly to the media.
His portfolio of responsibilities included public safety – police, fire and emergency management – and the nitty-gritty of municipal services, including street construction, fleet management, parking, the 311 call center and city water services that were the subject of a critical audit by the Comptroller’s Office last week.
He had a reputation of using data-driven statistics to keep a lid on payroll bloat, especially through the excessive use of overtime by the police and fire departments.
A native of Alabama, Thomaskutty is a graduate of Birmingham-Southern College and was awarded a masters degree in public policy and urban planning from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
He was hired in 2003 as a CitiStat analyst and advanced quickly, first as director of CitiStat and then as deputy mayor of administration, under former mayors Martin O’Malley and Sheila Dixon.
He was named to his present position in February 2010, the same month Rawlings-Blake became mayor following Dixon’s resignation following her conviction for stealing gift cards intended for the poor.
Today, Rawlings-Blake called Thomaskutty “a great talent and a great manager,” and said, “He has proven he knows how to make large, complex organizations more effective and efficient, and Baltimore is better for his efforts.” She added, “He will be missed here at City Hall.”
She announced that a search for his replacement is underway, which will make it the third high-profile search now underway.
Another new Rawlings-Blake appointee, Harry E. Black, was named acting director of finance on January 30 following the retirement of Edward Gallagher.