Tag Archives: Gov Larry Hogan

Baltimore mayor Pugh resigns from university medical board after her book deal with them is exposed

From Baltimore Sun: Baltimore Mayor Catherine E. Pugh has resigned from the board of the University of Maryland Medical System following a controversy involving a deal with the hospital system to buy her children’s books.

Last week, Pugh (demorat) and others on the health system’s board were criticized by Gov. Larry Hogan (R) and top state lawmakers for the financial deals with the hospital system and possible conflicts of interest.

On a financial disclosure form, Pugh listed a $100,000 profit for one year from selling 20,000 copies of her self-published children’s book series “Healthy Holly” to the University of Maryland health system, which runs 13 hospitals including the state’s trauma unit in Baltimore and has connections with the state’s dental and medical schools.

Hogan described the financial contracts, which are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, as “appalling” and “unseemly.” Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) called them “self-dealing” and “a huge disaster.”

House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel), who has been on the board for 16 years, said the unfolding scandal was the worst he’s seen in Maryland politics. He said he, Hogan, Miller and high-level staff from the hospital system will meet in Annapolis on Wednesday.

The deals were first disclosed last week by the Baltimore Sun, which reported that Pugh’s deals with the hospital board totaled $500,000 over several years, and were not fully listed on disclosure forms when Pugh represented Baltimore in the state Senate.

Other board members who had lucrative deals included former state senator Francis X. Kelly, who owns an insurance company and reported $1.6 million in revenue from deals with the hospital system.

Officials at the hospital system have said their contracts are legal. Legislation pending in the General Assembly would ban such arrangements.

In a statement put out Monday explaining her resignation, Pugh, who has served on the board since 2001, said she had “other pressing concerns that require my full attention, energy and efforts.” The Sun reported Friday that she had amended her state disclosure forms from her time in the Senate.

The system’s board members are appointed by the governor and the General Assembly’s presiding officers.

Hogan said Pugh’s resignation was “a step in the right direction. ” Last week, he called on board members with contracts with the health system to step down.

“We’re going to push for major reforms to make sure people either terminate their financial relationship or terminate them from the board,” Hogan said Monday. “One way or another, [we’ll] make sure that things like this don’t happen in the future.”

Read the whole story here.

DCG

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Progressive Baltimore: Guess the value of the school district’s maintenance backlog

Baltimore City Schools CEO Santelises: fighting a losing battle…

In March this year, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh authorized spending $100,000 to send 60 buses full of kids to the “March for Our Lives” anti-gun rally in DC.

Many noted at the time that the school district had a $130 MILLION budget deficit last year so the last thing they needed to be doing was wasting money to indoctrinate students against the Second Amendment. Yet the mayor persisted.

So along with a budget deficit, take a wild guess as to what the value is of the school’s maintenance backlog! Take a guess then guess again. Ready for the value?

According to the Baltimore Sun, the total value of the school district’s maintenance backlog is nearly $3 BILLION. That’s more than double the district’s annual operating budget.

More from the Sun’s report:

“We do have the oldest school buildings in the state of Maryland. That can’t change from a quip or from a magic wand,” says city schools CEO Sonja Santelises. Addressing the backlog in repairs, she says, is “not going to happen overnight.”

It’s become a back-to-school tradition for politicians and community members to decry the lack of adequate air conditioning in Baltimore classrooms. The conditions, which forced dozens of schools to close early during the sweaty first days of the school year, led Gov. Larry Hogan and Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot to demand that all city schools be outfitted with AC in the next few years. That’s meant funding for air conditioning has taken precedence over other pressing projects.

The Baltimore school board approved a report this month that lays out the city’s complex needs. The 2018-2019 Comprehensive Maintenance Plan is clear: After decades of underinvestment, the city school system needs a dramatic infusion of money before its school buildings have a chance at being up to par.”

Read the whole Sun story here.

Granted, this financial crisis didn’t start under CEO Santelises. According to Wikipedia, the crisis was first discovered in 2003 where it was believed they had a deficit of anywhere from $54 to 64 million. The district budget has been accused of having many errors and was not being monitored carefully.

And the school’s budget deficit has continued to climb to $130 million since 2003. This deficit, combined with the $3 BILLION maintenance backlog, equals a number that is more than the projected budget deficit of some 20 states.

Good luck Baltimore, you’re going to need it, along with some serious fiscal discipline.

DCG

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