Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake Hosts Cabinet in the Community
Last Tuesday, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake hosted her regularly scheduled cabinet meeting in Cherry Hill. Normally, cabinet meetings take place in City Hall, but for the first time, she brought this meeting to the community so City Council Vice President Edward Reisinger and residents of the 10th City Council district could see the process and share their thoughts and concerns with cabinet members directly. Cabinet in the Community advances the Mayor's goal of increasing government transparency and encouraging citizen engagement in the growth of our city.
In 2010, Mayor Rawlings-Blake made it very clear that a transparent government would be a high priority for her administration. Immediately after taking office, she hired a new Inspector General and increased funding for that office; signed legislation to make the Ethics Board more independent and to strengthen the Ethics Code; and launched OpenBaltimore, which has dramatically increased access to public information.
This commitment to transparency was recognized by the Maryland Public Interest Research Group. Maryland PIRG released a study of government transparency in the 30 largest cities in the United States. Baltimore was ranked as third most transparent. Maryland PIRG is an independent watchdog group, so their recognition of Baltimore's efforts is noteworthy and a sign of real progress.
At Cabinet in the Community, residents received updates on Vacants to Value from Baltimore Housing Commissioner Paul T. Graziano, public safety efforts from the Police and Fire Departments, and infrastructure improvement updates from the Department of Public Works. Following the meeting, residents had the opportunity speak with leadership from cabinet agencies and ask face-to-face questions. Cabinet in the Community was a tremendous success for residents of the 10th district. Mayor Rawlings-Blake hopes to bring the same meeting to other districts throughout the year.