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by Fern Shen9:55 amJul 12, 20170

Acting director of MOIT “no longer an employee” Pugh’s spokesman says

Departure of Evette Munro the latest leadership change at the long-troubled Mayor’s Office of Information Technology

Above: After Jerome Mullen resigned in February, Evette Munro was made acting director of the Mayor’s Office of Information Technology. (http://mayor.baltimorecity.gov)

Evette M. Munro, who took over as acting director of the Mayor’s Office of Information Technology (MOIT) after L. Jerome Mullen was escorted out of City Hall in February, has herself resigned or been asked to leave.

“General incompetence is why she was let go,” a source outside the Mayor’s office told The Brew.

Anthony McCarthy, director of public affairs for Mayor Catherine Pugh, declined to describe the circumstances that led to Munro’s departure when questioned.

“I can confirm the acting director of MOIT is no longer an employee of Baltimore City,” McCarthy said. “The mayor is interviewing candidates and will name a new director soon.”

Mullen, the city’s previous chief information officer, said he left the $163,000 job for personal reasons and to pursue other opportunities.

But MOIT staffers said Mullen was under investigation for alleged inappropriate office behavior that created “a toxic environment” in the office, accounts that were confirmed by former City Solicitor George Nilson.

“These were pretty serious issues,” Nilson said.

In addition to the probe of Mullen’s conduct, undertaken by the Office of the Inspector General, troubles arose with agency management, including MOIT’s rocky period supervising the city’s 911 emergency call operations.

After problems resulting in dropped calls and frequent wrong addresses to first responders, the 911 operations were shifted back to Fire and Police supervision.

Four CIOs in Five Years

Munro’s departure, and Mullen’s before her, were only the latest leadership changes atop a key city agency that has been marred by controversy.

With a budget of about $24 million, MOIT is responsible for providing city government with networked computing systems and supporting the needs of over 13,000 employees. Included in its portfolio is the CitiStat system and the 311 call center.

Mullen took over the office in 2014 after the departure of Chris Tonjes, placed on leave amid allegations by then-Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake of improper payments to contract employees.

Tonjes said he was innocent of charges that he said were part of a vendetta by Rawlings-Blake aides and were never substantiated.

Last year, the city barred Investment Management Enterprise Inc. and CEO Twyla Garrett from competing for city contracts until 2026. The city said Garrett altered a 2012 email from Tonjes to her to cast blame on him during the investigation.

Tonjes’ predecessor also left under a cloud.

Rico Singleton was forced out of MOIT in 2012 after an audit by New York State, where he was previously employed, alleged that he arranged a job for his live-in girlfriend and accepted air and hotel reimbursement from a company seeking a lucrative IT contract with New York State.

UPDATE

Pugh: “We’re too Outdated”

Asked about Munro’s departure at her weekly press availability today, Pugh complained that MOIT had problems before she came into office.

“Putting bids online? I mean that’s not something I should have had to ask for. That’s something we should be doing,” she said.

“I should not hear when I come into the Board of Estimates . . . ‘Where’s your mainframe?’ or ‘We’re not looking at cloud,’” she said. “We’re too outdated. That tells me this department needs to be scrubbed.”

Pugh, who took office in December, said she has a national search for a new CIO and has “at least five applications thus far.”

“You all know how I take my time in looking for what I want in specific positions,” she added.
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BREW COVERAGE OF MOIT TURNOVER

Evette Munro – Acting director of MOIT “no longer an employee” Pugh spokesman says (7/12/17)
Jerome Mullen – Probe of alleged improper office behavior by ousted MOIT director was halted last year (2/24/17)
Jerome Mullen – Chief information officer escorted out of City Hall (2/21/17)
Chris Tonjes – Embattled MOIT director resigns (6/2/14)
Rico Singleton – Baltimore’s CIO resigns following charges of misconduct at prior job (2/28/12)

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