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Gallagher reappointed as financial advisor to mayor

Rawlings-Blake has been hiring an array of consultants.

Above: Finance Director Edward Gallagher, with his successor Harry E. Black, shortly before his retirement last year.

Baltimore’s retired director of finance, Edward J. Gallagher, will continue as a senior advisor to the mayor, part of a growing team assisting Stephanie Rawlings-Blake on financial matters.

Gallagher’s reappointment to the same consulting job – with pay up to $54,480 – he was awarded last year is part of the Board of Estimates’ routine agenda this morning.

Gallagher, who used to sit in the front row at Board of Estimates meetings and take the place of the mayor when she was absent, has not been publicly visible at City Hall since his retirement from the $181,472 post in February 2012.

According to board documents, Gallagher’s duties over the next year “will include, but are not limited to” providing general advice and assistance to the mayor, the mayor’s office and to his successor, Harry E. Black.

Gallagher is also tasked with helping the mayor’s office present its capital budget and long-term finances to bond-rating agencies on Wall Street.

New Legislative Advisor

Gallagher is not alone in the advice department.

In January, the board approved an agreement to pay up to $95,000 to William S. Ratchford II, retired director of the Maryland Despartment of Fiscal Services, to advise the mayor on the fiscal impact of legislation before the General Assembly. He will also advise the mayor “on various fiscal matters concerning the Baltimore City Public School System.”

Ratchford’s contract is in effect through December 31, 2013.

Last month, a new $100,000-a-year position was created specifically to direct the mayor’s 10-year financial plan, which was developed by a bevy of consultants led by The PFM Group, a Philadelphia-based financial advisory group.

In addition to a $461,000 report by PFM – which formed the basis of the mayor’s current proposals to curtail employee health benefits and increase firefighter hours to stave off long-term budget deficits – the mayor’s office has retained the Hay Group, a Philadelphia human resources consulting firm, and two Baltimore area consultancies, Walker Benefit Services and Advanced Benefit Solutions.

These groups are expected to advise and direct studies for the mayor for the next two years under a 2011 contract approved by the Board of Estimates. Already, the city has made a $125,000 supplemental payment for PFM’s advice.

The mayor’s office says the consultants have developed ideas that will help lower property taxes and place municipal government on a solid fiscal footing.

A recommendation by the PFM-Hay team, which reduced up-front premiums for municipal employees but higher out-of-pocket costs, are expected to save the city $10 million during the current fiscal year and $20 million next year, according to City Budget Director Andrew Kleine.

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