Catherine E. Pugh To Be Inaugurated as Baltimore’s 50th Mayor Tuesday, Will Inherit Unresolved Issues from Stephanie Rawlings-Blake

Baltimore Mayor-elect Catherine E. Pugh (right) talks with current mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who did not seek re-election, during a reconciliation event at Druid Hill Park. The event was held near where unrest began following the death of Freddie Gray. (Karl Merton Ferron / Baltimore Sun)
Baltimore Mayor-elect Catherine E. Pugh (right) talks with current mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who did not seek re-election, during a reconciliation event at Druid Hill Park. The event was held near where unrest began following the death of Freddie Gray. (Karl Merton Ferron / Baltimore Sun)

After Catherine E. Pugh is inaugurated as Baltimore’s mayor Tuesday, she will promptly face decisions on several contentious issues left unresolved by departing Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

Pugh, Baltimore’s 50th mayor, will need to conclude a potentially costly legal agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice to curb police misconduct and then negotiate a new contract with the city police union.

She also must decide whether to tear down Baltimore’s Confederate-era monuments, whether to sell downtown parking garages to raise money for recreation centers and whether to bring back speed cameras turned off by Rawlings-Blake’s administration.

Pugh’s spokesman, Anthony McCarthy, says the new mayor plans to waste little time before addressing the issues.

She has announced five members of the leadership team that will advise her on these decisions. Pugh named former interim city schools CEO Tisha Edwards as her chief of staff, Del. Peter Hammen as her chief of operations, former Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith as chief of strategic alliances, former Pennsylvania government official Karen Stokes as director of government relations and McCarthy as her director of communications.

In a statement, Pugh called the team “dynamic.”

“This team has an exceptional track record of public service and they will help me to transform Baltimore into a thriving and vibrant city for businesses and residents,” she said.

Supporters and critics of Baltimore’s Police Department will watch closely as Pugh’s administration completes the consent decree to regulate the agency.

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Source: Baltimore Sun | Luke Broadwater