Tisha S. Edwards, who became chief of staff five months ago when Catherine Pugh became mayor of Baltimore, is leaving City Hall around June 1, reliable sources tell The Brew.
Edwards’ departure is reported to be voluntary. She has already submitted her resignation, two sources say, despite efforts by Mayor Pugh to “hold on to her” for at least a few more months.
The mayor’s press secretary, Anthony McCarthy, refused to confirm or deny Edwards’ resignation today, saying, “If this were true, we will send out a press release this afternoon.”
He added, “I’m not ready to tell you anything right now.”
UPDATE 2 p.m. – The mayor’s office confirms that Edwards will leave to become president of BridgeEDU, an educational technology company founded by best-selling Baltimore author Wes Moore.
Edwards’ position, which pays $190,000 a year, is considered the second most powerful job at City Hall.
It involves running the day-to-day operations of the mayor’s office as well as acting on the mayor’s behalf across a wide range of issues.
On her portfolio are the police department and public safety, education, homeless services and a plethora of commissions and boards, including the Ethics Board, HIV Planning Group and Commission, Environmental Control Board and Mayor’s Office of Information Technology.
She was also charged by Mayor Pugh with “the restructuring of city government,” an effort that has so far yielded no public plans.
Typically, the chief-of-staff job is low visibility. She was on hand at an unusual mayoral late-night “call to action” on crime in February, but since then, has been a remote presence at City Hall, rarely appearing at public meetings.
One source reported that Edwards, 45, has expressed frustration with her lack of authority within the bureaucracy.
“She likes to make her own decisions and she likes to pull her own weight,” said the source.
According to a city official, Edwards has been clueless over issues of policing and public safety, which have become crucial matters as Mayor Pugh struggles to stem the rise in homicides – as well as shootings, robberies and car-jackings – since she took office.
Prior to joining the administration, Edwards was executive vice president of corporate affairs for the J.S. Plank & D.M. DiCarlo Family Foundation.
She served as interim CEO of Baltimore City Public Schools between July 2013 and June 2014 and, prior to that, was chief of staff to former Schools CEO Andrés Alonso.
TEXT OF STATEMENT THIS AFTERNOON BY MAYOR PUGH ON EDWARDS’ RESIGNATION:
“One year ago, at my urging, Tisha Edwards joined my team to help execute my Transition strategy, which focused on my vision for moving our city forward.
“Having known Tisha as the Chief of Staff and Interim CEO of Baltimore City Public Schools and working alongside her this past year, she has demonstrated strong leadership qualities and a passion for children that has prepared her for the position of President of BridgeEDU.
“I’m very excited about Tisha’s future and the many young people she will positively impact. I look forward to our continued partnership.”