The Board of Public Works on Wednesday authorized beefing up the Office of the Attorney General.
The board approved creating four positions for attorneys and another four for support staff. The new jobs come as the agency headed by Attorney General Anthony Brown (D) seeks to expand investigations of sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church as well as prosecuting police-involved fatalities and serious injuries.
The board approved the eight positions unanimously without any discussion. The total cost of the positions exceeds $1.1 million.
State law authorizes the board to create no more than 100 new positions. The approval of the two requests by the Office of the Attorney General and one on the Public Service Commission brings the total to 11 in fiscal year 2024.
The attorney general’s office recently completed and released a nearly 500-page report as part of its investigation into sexual abuse and coverup allegations against the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
“Since the release of that report, we have had a substantial uptick in the number of calls and emails that have come into our office through the hotline we set up at the start of that investigation four years ago,” the agency wrote in documents submitted to the board.
“These new positions will support the investigations of allegations related to the sexual abuse of minors by clergy and others affiliated with the Archdiocese of Washington D.C. and the Diocese of Wilmington in Delaware, as well as the intaking, processing, and investigation of any new allegations that we receive regarding the Archdiocese of Baltimore,” the agency wrote.
The four positions were created by abolishing five contractual positions which included two attorneys.
Brown’s office said his agency also needs attorneys and staff to comply with a 2023 law that authorizes the Office of the Attorney General to prosecute police-involved serious injuries and fatalities. That law takes effect Oct. 1.
“The new cases under our expanded authority will require expansive preparation and litigation,” according to the attorney general’s office. “In addition to the extensive motions practice, the attorneys would be expected to write indictments and supporting memoranda, prepare discovery, and prepare themselves and witnesses for trial.”
Davis satisfied with current pace of Orioles lease negotiations
Treasurer Dereck Davis (D) said Wednesday he is feeling better about the pace of lease negotiations between the Maryland Stadium Authority and the Baltimore Orioles.
Davis’ positive outlook stems from meetings with both Gov. Wes Moore (D) and Orioles team chairman and CEO John Angelos. Those meetings followed Davis’ public criticism of both sides in a negotiation process he felt was too drawn out.
“For me, it was about conveying my sense of urgency that come on, guys, let’s do this,” said Davis. “I won’t say that we got on the same page because I believe we were always on the same page that the issue was we need to get this done. I understand that everybody’s got to look out for their best interest. I get that. At some point in time though, we’ve got to move the meatball. We’ve got to move this thing forward.”
Angelos was expected to make an announcement during Major League Baseball’s all-star break. That announcement never came.
Some of the delay appears to be tied to Angelos’ desire to build an entertainment district adjacent to Camden Yards. The complex would be like The Battery in Atlanta near the home of the Atlanta Braves. Angelos led a tour of that area for Moore earlier this year.
Davis declined to speak about the details of his meetings with Moore and Angelos.
The treasurer, who describes himself as a life-long Orioles fan, made comparisons to the current lease negotiations and those that preceded the departure of the Colts to Indianapolis.
“That sort of left an indelible mark as much as everybody’s embraced the Ravens,” said Davis. “Nobody will forget that day in ’83. So, when you have a situation like this, you can’t help but to harken back, is it going to happen again?
Davis said he remains hopeful about the team’s future in Baltimore.
“I won’t say I’m very concerned but the longer things sort of hang out you can’t help the creep in your mind,” he said. “Other people are feeling the same thing as me at some point. You do reach an impasse and then it goes, what happens next? And you know, you can’t help but think, well, if the parties can’t reach an agreement that the team pivots and sells. John Angelos has not said that at any point in time, so I’m not putting words in his mouth or putting those kinds of aspersions on him. But I just think it’s natural for fans and elected officials, and so forth, to be concerned about this thing. Teams do relocate.”
Davis also reserved the right to speak out again if he feels things have changed.
“The lines of communication are open as far as I’m concerned,” said Davis. “I’m gonna give them the space to continue working and negotiating without being a distraction, but if that time comes where I feel, something else needs to be said. Then I’ll do that.”