City Councilman Bill Henry is planning to give up the 4th District seat he has held for three terms to run for comptroller in the upcoming 2020 election.
The campaign will formally kick off at St. Mary’s Park on June 1 at 10 a.m.–an event that made its way onto the social media sphere at the end of April.
In a Twitter thread explaining his decision, Henry said he sees winning the comptroller position as an opportunity to expand government accountability and equitable growth, things he said he has worked for on the council.
“As the next Baltimore City Comptroller I’ll continue to advance these priorities by reforming and modernizing the Comptroller’s office to increase transparency and effectiveness; utilizing performance auditing to achieve better outcomes for communities and businesses; and transforming city real estate policy to better support fair development and shared prosperity,” he wrote.
Last month Henry joined council members in introducing a slate of governmental reforms, including an amendment that would allow the council to add to the budget; under the current strong-mayor framework, they can only cut. Henry previously pushed for such a change in 2016, but former Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake vetoed the bill, and the council could not summon enough votes for an override.
“My hope is that this time, this council… will not vote against their own self-interest and the interest of their constituents, and will vote to try to even that power dynamic between the mayor and the city council,” Henry said outside City Hall.
Some of his other proposals include amendments to repeal the mayor’s power to make line-item vetos, and lower the threshold for overturning a mayoral veto from three-fourths of the council to two-thirds, or from 12 to 10 votes.
During his time on the council, Henry has also sought an income-based system for water billing, as the Department of Public Works has passed rate hikes the department said is needed to pay for much-needed infrastructure repairs.
The incumbent comptroller, Joan Pratt, has held the position for six terms.
In addition to serving on the city’s spending board, the comptroller is responsible for independent audits and oversees the departments of Real Estate and Communication Services.