Recently, outspoken anti-Trump Democrat Catherine Pugh, the mayor of Baltimore, has come under fire for her sale of “healthy eating” children’s books that were supposed to go to public schools (though they were unsolicited, and 8,700 of the books are just sitting in storage…)
Pugh, who was a board member of the University of Maryland Medical System, reportedly received $500,000 for the books (which were allegedly not well-written) but has admitted to not even printing thousands of them.
As the scandal has developed, 14 of Boston City Council’s members put together a letter asking Pugh to resign.
Here’s the letter, shared by councilman Brandon M. Scott on Twitter:
But Pugh has no intention of (perhaps wisely) resigning.
She has claimed leave based on needing to recover from pneumonia and has stated that she will be back after she heals from the illness.
Here's the news on the Pugh controversy that hit Twitter:
Fox News has more:
The 14 members of the Baltimore City Council sent a two-sentence letter to Pugh on Monday urging her to resign, effective immediately. All members of the city council except acting mayor Bernard C. "Jack" Young signed the letter.
“The entire membership of the Baltimore City Council believes that it is not in the best interest of the City of Baltimore for you to continue to serve as Mayor,” the council members wrote to Pugh. “We urge you to tender your resignation, effective immediately.”
Copies of the letter were also sent to City Solicitor Andre Davis, Pugh’s chief of staff Bruce Williams, the city’s senators and delegates in the Maryland General Assembly and Young.
Pugh is under fire after she reportedly received $500,000 from the University of Maryland Medical System for her self-authored “Healthy Holly,” a children’s book series.
The university paid Pugh for 100,000 copies of her books between 2011 and 2018 while she was on its board. The books were intended to go to schools and day care centers, however, some 50,000 copies remain unaccounted for and may never have been printed, the Baltimore Sun reported.
The state prosecutor opened an investigation earlier this month into the books’ sales, the Baltimore Sun reported.
The Baltimore Sun had the following to say about the mayor and controversy:
Pugh announced April 1 that she was taking an indefinite leave of absence to recover from a bout of pneumonia for which she was hospitalized for five days. She continues to receive her mayoral pay of $185,000 a year. But Pugh’s spokesman said Saturday that she intended to return once her health has sufficiently improved.
The idea for the letter came together quickly after The Sun’s report Saturday evening on Pugh’s intention to come back, council members said.
Burnett said he’s barely been able to go out in public without being asked about Pugh. He said he felt the council had to step in to try to end the distraction.
“My personal opinion is that it was important that we take swift action to have a unified call,” he said. “I still very much believe in due process, and that investigations should be fully completed, but at the same time this has become a complete distraction from the work.”
Scott said he helped coordinate the letter, placing calls to his colleagues, but underscored that it was a collective effort.
“This is not something that could have happened without the entire council wanting it to happen,” Scott said.
Burnett said it was important for the council to act quickly and decisively. On Sunday, council members went to Costello’s office at City Hall to review the letter and sign their names. When Clarke arrived about 5 p.m., Costello, Middleton and Stokes had already signed their names. She became the fourth.
“We know we do not have the power to act on our recommendation,” Clarke said. “But we hope, as she's recovering from her pneumonia, that she will understand how disruptive and hurtful this tsunami of discoveries has become for the city itself and for city government.”
Costello posted a statement on Facebook saying: “The myriad of investigations underway into the various business dealings involving the Mayor raise significant ethical and legal issues. It will be impossible for Mayor Pugh to govern effectively. Therefore, I have joined all of my colleagues today in asking for the Mayor’s immediate resignation.” He declined to comment further for this article.
Forcing a mayor from office is tricky and perhaps not possible without a criminal conviction. Dorsey said last week that the city’s charter clearly spells out how to remove a member of the council or the comptroller, but “there’s no way for the council to remove a mayor.”
Dorsey said the Maryland General Assembly could amend the state constitution or the city charter, opening an alternative avenue to removing a mayor.
“Dear General Assembly, I've noticed you have about 15 1/2 more lawmaking hours and retain the power to amend our charter as well as the Constitution,” Dorsey wrote in a tweet Monday.
Monday evening, state delegates representing Baltimore in Annapolis held a news conference in the State House to join the council’s call for Pugh to go.
Del. Cheryl Glenn and Baltimore City delegation call for Mayor Catherine Pugh to resign. (Kenneth K. Lam, Baltimore Sun video)
Del. Cheryl Glenn, who chairs the city’s House delegation, said the delegation wants Pugh to reconsider her plans to return as mayor.
“We do not believe that’s in the best interest for the city of Baltimore and the progress that we need to continue to make collectively,” Glenn said, flanked by most of the city’s delegates. “Once the City Council — who has to work with the mayor, day in and day out — unanimously came together and made a decision, we thought that we needed to stand in solidarity with them.”
Gov. Larry Hogan said calls for resignation from the City Council and Baltimore delegates mark a “turning point for the mayor.”
“Obviously the continuing saga has gotten worse every day and it’s gotten to the point where city leaders are taking a much stronger position,” Hogan said. “I think that’s the way it should be dealt with. I think it should get to the point where she resigns. The city dealing with this issue and calling on her to do so is appropriate.”
Pugh and the University of Maryland Medical System have been under fire since The Sun reported last month that nine of its board members, including Pugh, had deals benefiting their private companies with the hospital network they were tasked with overseeing.
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