Baltimore Business Group Wants Pugh Gone

    The Greater Baltimore Committee’s Board of Directors on Friday added its voice to those calling on Baltimore Mayor Catherine E. Pugh (D) to resign.

    Following a meeting Friday, members of the business group’s board determined that Pugh no longer possesses the public trust or moral authority to lead the city due to concerns regarding her personal ethics. Pugh, who has been on a leave of absence for health reasons, has been accused of self-dealing for selling children’s books to entities that required her vote when she served in the state Senate or those that have been seeking contracts from the city.

    “This was a difficult decision requiring a great deal of thought, but the GBC believes the Mayor can no longer provide the leadership and effective government that Baltimore needs and deserves at this time,” said Donald C. Fry, president and CEO of the GBC. “The GBC Board determined that it is necessary for Mayor Pugh to resign so the city can move on, heal and leverage the many positive assets it has going for it.”

    Statement of the Greater Baltimore Committee Urging Resignation of Mayor Catherine Pugh

    The primary mission of the Greater Baltimore Committee is to improve the business climate of the Greater Baltimore region by organizing its corporate and civic leadership to develop solutions to the region’s problems.

    For 64 years, the Greater Baltimore Committee has been instrumental in efforts to improve the region, including Baltimore City, by advancing initiatives and programs that create an environment to attract businesses, encourage business growth and create jobs. A strong and stable government is an essential component of that environment.

    In addition to its obligation to take action that is in the best interest of the city, the GBC, as a membership organization, has a responsibility to its member companies that have financially invested capital and created jobs, which enhance the city and its employment base.

    Foremost, the GBC has a duty to take public stances on difficult issues that impact the city, region, and its residents.

    Baltimore City has extraordinary assets which have spurred unprecedented private sector investment across the city and significant growth in its downtown, largely from an influx of millennial residents.Baltimore is a city full of potential and progress needs to continue to keep the city moving forward and realize its full potential.

    Recent news coverage of Mayor Catherine Pugh regarding the solicitation of book sales with not-for-profit companies with which she had a relationship during her public service as a State Senator and Mayor and other activities has damaged the city’s reputation and placed her leadership into question.

    Baltimore City has too many pressing issues that must be addressed to be distracted by controversies that threaten the public’s trust in government.

    Baltimore needs a strong Mayor who is laser-focused on the needs of the city, its residents, and businesses and can lead the city forward. Trusted leadership is an essential quality of an effective mayor.

    Unfortunately, the recent revelations surrounding Mayor Pugh have undermined her moral authority to be that leader.

    With deep regret, the Greater Baltimore Committee has concluded that under the present and extraordinary circumstances it is in the best interest of the City of Baltimore and its citizens that Mayor Catherine Pugh tender her resignation as Mayor.

    This decision was made after a great deal of thought and is not based upon any determination or judgment as to any wrongdoing. It is premature to make such a judgment until all the facts are uncovered.

    The rationale for this decision is entirely based on the magnitude of the allegations, the multiple investigations that will detract from the operation of city business, and the personal circumstances surrounding the Mayor that have compromised her trust with the public and elected officials rendering it impossible for her to govern and to provide the strong, trusted leadership that is desperately needed in Baltimore.

    Note: Members of the GBC Board who have been referenced in news reports surrounding Mayor Pugh’s activities did not participate in the April 12 vote nor were they involved in discussions that resulted in the Board’s decision to call for her resignation.

    [email protected]

    Josh Kurtz
    Co-founder and Editor Josh Kurtz is the leading chronicler of Maryland politics and government. He began covering the State House in 1995 for The Gazette newspapers, and has been writing about state and local politics ever since. He later became an editor at Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, and spent eight years at E&E News, an online subscription-only publisher of news websites covering energy and environmental issues. For seven of those years, he led a staff of 20 reporters at E&E Daily, which covers energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill and in national politics. For 6 1/2 years he wrote a weekly column on state politics for Center Maryland and has written for several other Maryland publications as well. Kurtz has given speeches and appeared on TV and radio shows about Maryland politics through the years.