A month has passed since City Solicitor James L. Shea locked horns with Inspector General Isabel Mercedes Cumming.
The immediate issue was a job performance review meeting by the IG Advisory Board that Cumming said should be open to the public, but whose opening, according to Shea’s office, would violate the Maryland Public Information Act and subject the mostly political appointees of the panel to possible criminal sanctions.
“The board sees no alternative to cancelling the October 28 meeting and will explore other ways to conclude its performance review,” he wrote cryptically a week earlier.
The stalemate was the latest phase of a tug of war over the independence of Cumming’s office. It began last February when supporters of State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, denouncing an IG report on Mosby’s business trips and gifts, demanded the advisory board be convened to evaluate her performance.
This week we tried to get a reading on the status of the review process. Shea, the chair of the advisory, was asked if the panel was planning to meet in the near future. Or if it was preparing a written performance report. And if it was, whether the report would be made public.
We received this response from Shea’s chief of staff, Stephen Salsbury:
“The advisory board has prepared a draft performance review and shared that with the inspector general. The advisory board is currently reviewing the IG’s response. We expect to finalize the performance review shortly and will be able to answer the rest of your inquires after we have done so.”
For her part, Cumming said she planned to make the completed performance review public and part of the proceedings now posted on the IG website.