Baltimore’s Deputy Solicitor of 13 Years Leaving for Private Sector

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David Ralph. Photo via Mayor’s Office.

David Ralph, who’s helped represent the city as an attorney in four consecutive mayoral administrations, is on his way out the door.

His final day as deputy solicitor for Baltimore City will be Sept. 29, a week from this Friday. Mayor Catherine Pugh’s office announced his departure Tuesday afternoon, sharing an appreciative statement from newly appointed City Solicitor Andre Davis.

“It is with great sadness that I accept Deputy Solicitor David Ralph’s resignation from the City of Baltimore Law Department, to return to the private sector,” said Davis, a former federal appellate judge tapped by Pugh for his new post in May. “David is an invaluable member of our legal team and a stellar human being. He will be dearly missed, by both the lawyers and staff of this Department and by elected and appointed officials throughout City government.”

Davis started as city solicitor on Sept. 1. Ralph, who’d been serving as acting solicitor for the last year, had evidently wanted to leave for some time, but waited it out until Davis arrived.

Ralph said in a statement that “the Law Department and the City are in excellent hands” with Davis.

“As I have begun working with Solicitor Davis, as he prepared to take office and since September 1st, it has become harder to leave,” Ralph said. “Baltimore is truly in great hands and it is getting even better to work here than it has been, and working here has been one of the highlights of my career.”

He joined the Law Department in 2004 as head of the Litigation Division, leaving behind a position at private law firm Saul Ewing. For most of his time with the department he worked under former City Solicitor George Nilson, who promoted him to deputy solicitor in 2010.

Last summer, Nilson was memorably fired by former Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake after the Southern Poverty Law Center exposed a contractor he’d worked with as a Neo-Nazi sympathizer. Nilson had awarded a contract to attorney Glen Keith Allen to represent the city police department in a wrongful arrest case involving a black plaintiff; Allen was found to be a longstanding member of the National Alliance white supremacist group.

Ralph stepped in as acting solicitor for the last 13 months in Nilson’s absence, leading the Law Department through the city’s negotiations with the U.S. Justice Department over the terms of the consent decree for the Baltimore Police Department, among other high-profile tasks and cases.

Ralph’s salary in 2016 was $150,300. Pugh’s office didn’t say where he’s headed at the end of this month; a call to Davis’ office went unanswered.

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Ethan McLeod

Senior Editor at Baltimore Fishbowl
Ethan has been editing and reporting for Baltimore Fishbowl since fall of 2016. His previous stops include Fox 45, CQ Researcher and Connection Newspapers in Northern Virginia. His freelance writing has been featured in Baltimore City Paper, Leafly, DCist and BmoreArt, among other outlets. He enjoys basketball, humid Mid-Atlantic summers and story tips.
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