In accepting the resignation of Deputy Mayor Ted Carter today, Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott strongly hinted that Carter fell on his sword for the greater good of the city.
Formally thanking Carter for his service, Scott said he “appreciates” that the deputy mayor did not allow “any distractions” to prevent the “advancement of his crucial work” – namely, “to drive equitable community development.”
Those “distractions,” The Brew reported last week, involved a large volume of complaints by mostly female employees of alleged inappropriate behavior, which led to a formal investigation by the Department of Human Resources.
HR’s internal findings resulted in Carter’s temporary suspension on August 17 – which the mayor’s office at the time refused to confirm – that set off a groundswell of concern by city officials and the business community that interacts with Carter as deputy mayor for economic development.
The $214,000-a-year “at will” employee was set to return to work this morning when he abruptly resigned.
His departure marks the latest high-level resignation that has included two deputy city administrators, the chief of communications, the mayor’s top law enforcement and children and family services advisors, and his chief of staff, Michael Huber.
“What kind of message was the mayor sending to women employees if he let Ted return after all the complaints?” asked a City Hall insider who was not authorized to speak to the media.
“The mayor was looking down the barrel of a lawsuit,” another source commented. “I sure hope the law department told him that.”
Range of Complaints
On the job for just 16 months, recruited from Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Carter became a source of complaints from many quarters, sources have told The Brew.
They ranged from agency heads who reported to him as deputy mayor in charge of a $1 billion budget to special assistants who worked directly under him.
Carter did not respond to email requests for an interview or a written statement.
Sources say he was “abusive” and “demeaning,” texting and calling staff “at all hours of the night,” then expressing anger when his messages were not immediately returned.
He allegedly was “overly familiar and flirtatious” with female staff, unprepared for meetings (“even ones he called for”), and failed to make timely decisions and follow through on those decisions.
Not only HR, but Scott’s senior management team was aware of these deficiencies months ago, says a well-placed source.
“At least four direct reports raised issues to HR or senior management. One had HR get involved to have a formal job description put in place to help set boundaries.
“Two have transferred out of the mayor’s office to work elsewhere in city government. One left city service after five months under Carter. Only one of the departed’s positions have been backfilled.”
“There was a delay in taking steps toward termination,” noted a second source, who said that Scott, while aware of the situation, deferred to City Administrator Christopher Shorter, the very person who had selected Carter for the job.
“Carter was protected because HR is under Shorter. HR took a long time before they took the complaints against Ted seriously,” the source said.
Today, Scott’s new communications director, Monica Lewis, said that Bukola Rashedat Hammed-Owens will serve as the primary point of contact in Carter’s absence.