GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY


"We have to turn the page on corruption. It has existed for so long because of the cloak of secrecy and backroom wheeling and dealing. My administration will be committed to true, apparent and lasting transparency and accountability ensuring the public and media have greater access to City Hall."- T.J. Smith


Baltimore city government isn’t working for far too many of our people — too many neighborhoods are ignored and basic city services are not delivered. We need a more efficient and equitable city hall, one that makes sure agencies don’t leave millions of dollars on the table and ensures the collection of water bills from Pulaski Highway to Key Highway.

In the Smith Administration, the structure of government will change to ensure the customer; our citizens are being served by the very agencies they fund. In addition to returning to a deputy mayor structure, which has proven successful in the past, I will create several new citywide positions that help put the resident first.

City Administrative Officer (CAO)

If Baltimore is to hit its high note – then the city needs a good conductor.

This is, first and foremost, the biggest and most needed change to city government. Every jurisdiction around us, including the city of Annapolis, has a chief administrative officer, city manager, or equivalent. The City Administrative Officer will oversee the day-to-day functions of the city agencies. Baltimore is in desperate need of a top-level administrator to oversee operations.

The City Administrative Officer (CAO) is an apolitical position. The city manager will call the balls and strikes on city agencies to ensure an equitable and just delivery of city services as well as create efficiencies throughout government. Baltimore needs to be more nimble, cost effective and, most of all, dependable and accountable to the people it serves. The CAO will also play a large role in helping to oversee and determine the annual budget.

Chief Ethics Officer

Politics will not be as usual.

As mayor, I will create a position of Chief Ethics Officer. They will be answerable for developing and supervising this critical function. Baltimore is in the midst of a decade-long, dizzying, corrupt bender and it simply has to end; now. It is time the citizens of Baltimore can trust their government to hold public servants accountable. This ethics officer will enforce transparency and provide counsel to the Smith Administration to ensure observance of policies and programs that increase transparency. All ethics complaints will be vigorously investigated and the results will be made public.

  • The Chief Ethics Officer will be accountable to the Smith Administration for developing and supervising the ethics of the City of Baltimore, it’s employees, and elected officials.
  • The Chief Ethics Officer will ensure each agency develops a code of ethics so that there is a standard throughout the government.
  • The Chief Ethics Officer will provide expert advice to ensure the execution of ethics and the scrutiny of the policies and programs of the city of Baltimore.
  • The Chief Ethics Officer performs investigations that are based on the accusations that are brought to the offices attention.
  • The Chief Ethics Officer will be hired by the mayor and appointed to a six-year term (upon confirmation by the city council) and can only be removed after being nominated for removal by the mayor and by a majority vote of the city council wherein the city council president serves as the tiebreaker.

The Smith Administration will be tirelessly devoted to transparency at every level. As Mayor, I will not only respect the disinfectant of the spotlight, I will welcome it. In addition to the proposed Chief Ethics Officer, my administration will hold itself accountable by launching a public commitment tracker online for the residents to see the progress we are making based on the promises made during the campaign. This tracker will be public and have explanations of progress or lack thereof.

We will also create an official pressroom inside of City Hall for working media. The press should have easy access within the building and be welcomed to approach any elected official within the people’s hall. It is necessary the media have access and a workspace with internet connectivity for the daily coverage of city government.

Office of the Inspector General

Trust, but verify.

As mayor I will enhance this existing office to provide the backstop city government needs. The office of the Inspector General will have increased resource allocation; additional personnel investments into the office for a renewed approach to eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse. Allocate additional resources. When this office finds millions of “lost” dollars, it pays for itself. We know, undoubtedly, there is waste, fraud and abuse within city government.

Fiscal responsibility and good financial stewardship will be a standard with the Smith Administration. Baltimoreans are already saddled with the highest taxes in the region with a questionable return on investment. Every single dollar of taxpayer money will be handled with the utmost respect and scrutiny. We will balance the budget each year that reflects the needs and priorities of the residents, businesses, and patrons of Baltimore.

Our administration will work towards gaining a AAA bond rating for the city of Baltimore. Our efforts will be to continue to improve the financial health of the city.

We will make all financial information available to the public on our website. We will establish a new system of audits and public dissemination of the results.

CitiStat

Baltimore will use data to ensure effective delivery of services like never before.

The Smith Administration will effectively use CitiStat as a leadership, accountability, and outcome tool in the city. We must track data and use data to measure outcomes. We have many needs in our city, but accountability and a focus on outcomes might be among the top. The Smith Administration will have a bold vision with new strategies and initiatives to focus on public safety, accountable government, elevated education, equitable investment, connectivity, and more, but it must be measured, monitored, and adjusted while achieving the end results that are expected. Our performance objectives and performance strategies will be housed under an effective leadership strategy to ensure the effective delivery of services.

An effective process will allow our administration to take immediate steps within the government to improve, correct, and synthesize services to make our city safer, effective, and equitable.

We will aggressively work towards a smart and connected city. Beyond tracking data and using it to measure outcomes, we will investigate technologies that give this same data access to residents. Baltimore is on its way to being a “smart city”, but we must have leadership who understands and embraces the necessity for making this initiative a priority.

Office of Constituent Services

Our customers deserve quality customer service.

The Smith Administration will have a renewed approach to serving our clients; the people of Baltimore. The culture of customer service will start at the top and each agency will be responsible for adhering to specific and standardized customer service delivery strategies.

As mayor, I will create an Office of Constituent Services. This office will be the conduit between the communities and the Mayor’s Office. They will focus on the communities needs to include the cleanliness of the city, investments in roads and infrastructure, stringent accountability measures, increased community input and focus on quality of life.

As part of this office, the Smith Administration will rebrand and relaunch a robust constituent services team for each geography of the city. This is a critical need for our city, especially during a time where we see significant discrepancies with responses to basic needs.

The Smith Administration will have an immediate and renewed focus on getting basic services right, regardless of neighborhood. Employees must respect residents, greet them accordingly, and focus on outcomes. Each department head will be held accountable for their department’s compliance.