Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young yesterday vetoed a pair of charter amendments, passed by the City Council to curtail some of his office’s power under Baltimore’s “strong mayor” form of government.
One of the amendments would lower the number of votes that the Council needs to overturn a mayoral veto.
The other would give the Council more time to override vetoes when a meeting isn’t scheduled.
Young’s vetoes were expected. He explained them in a press release that chiefly blasted City Council President Brandon M. Scott for a “rushed, secretive process.”
Back and Forth
“I have always been committed to openness and transparency in city government,” Young said, “and look forward to a more holistic and inclusive review of our City Charter, as opposed to the piecemeal approach preferred to date by the Council President.”
Young and Scott are locked in a June 2 primary with four other leading candidates, all seeking to become Baltimore’s next mayor.
Scott yesterday responded in kind.
“It is ironic that the mayor suddenly pretends to care so much about public input,” he said in a emailed statement to the media. “Voters are the ones who should be deciding the fate of these charter amendments on their November ballots, and the mayor should trust the process and allow them to do so.”
Notably, however, Scott did not say if he will try to override Young’s vetoes, which would require three-quarters of the Council’s 15 members.
Councilman Bill Henry, who chairs the committee that approved the amendments, criticized the mayor’s stand, saying that “countless citizens” testified in favor of “a more equitable distribution of power in their government.”
However, Henry continued, “We also heard from high-powered lobbyists who want the government structure to stay the same. It appears the mayor is listening to the latter, and not the people he is supposed to be serving.”
Henry said he “looks forward” to the Council overriding the mayoral vetoes at the next its next meeting.
NOTE: The Council is headed for a “primary season break” and won’t hold its next full meeting until June 15.