Scott shakes up council committees, adds dedicated ones for health, cybersecurity and more

0
Share the News


The inside of the council chambers. Photo by Ethan McLeod.

Council President Brandon Scott today is breaking apart two committees with dual focuses and adding new ones dedicated to public health and, in the wake of a crippling ransomware attack, cybersecurity preparedness.

The total number of council panels now stands at 13, up from nine under the previous watch of Bernard C. “Jack” Young. And with the shakeup, most of the committees will now be led by first-term legislators elected in 2016.

Scott, head of the city council for just shy of two months now, announced Kristerfer Burnett (8th District) will chair the newly restored Health Committee. Its job will be to probe issues like substance abuse, mental health, trauma and matters tied to environmental health, according to an announcement.

The Health Committee, being revived from earlier council administrations, will have five members, with Burnett serving as chair and outgoing Councilman (and 2020 comptroller hopeful) Bill Henry filling the post of vice-chair.

Scott firmed up an earlier move from last month, when he created a special committee to deal with the fallout of hackers taking control of the city’s municipal computer networks and demanding a bitcoin ransom. The three-member Cybersecurity and Emergency Preparedness Committee will be chaired by Eric Costello, who represents the 11th District and previously worked as an IT analyst with the U.S. Office of Government Accountability.

Isaac “Yitzy” Schleifer (5th District) will be vice chair, and Council Vice President Sharon Green Middleton will be the other member.

Meanwhile, the council president is splitting both the Land Use and Transportation and Judiciary and Legislative Investigations committees down the middle.

Ryan Dorsey (3rd District) will chair the new Transportation Committee, entrusted with “focusing on the severe transportation challenges facing our city and developing short- and long-term solutions to solve them,” according to today’s announcement.

Dorsey proposed Baltimore’s Complete Streets ordinance, signed into law last year, and is a regular vocal critic of transportation inequities and failings in the city.

The Northeast Baltimore councilman said in an interview that he plans to bring up specific issues like road design, walkability and bus efficiency. Current conditions are “really failing everybody in hindering our ability to move people efficiently through and around the city,” and in “realizing the potential of the overall potential of the city in terms of retaining and growing its tax base, being a place where our communities are more inclusive and opportune and accessible.”

Leon Pinkett (7th District), another outspoken transportation equity proponent, will join him as vice chair.

Burnett will take on other committee leadership posts, including as vice chair of the Public Safety Committee and chair of the new Legislative Investigations Committee. Burnett has put forth ethics reforms for Baltimore, including a charter amendment to let lawmakers impeach a sitting mayor—put forth as Catherine Pugh refused to step down for weeks amid her “Healthy Holly” corruption scandal—and a Fair Elections Fund to contest private donors’ influence in city elections.

Burnett told Baltimore Fishbowl the committee will be “a necessary check and balances in our local system of government, and one that is sorely needed to regain the community’s faith in government.”

Ed Reisinger (10th District), retiring after three decades on the council next fall, will head up the now-separate Land Use Committee, while Costello will helm the Judiciary Committee.

Schleifer will take over for Scott as head of the Public Safety Committee. The committee’s schedule includes regular oversight hearings about the Baltimore Police Department’s crime-fighting strategy, overtime spending and more. Schleifer is stepping in during a particularly torrid spell of gun violence kicking off the summer, and as Commissioner Michael Harrison rolls out a new (or regurgitated, argues the police union) strategy focusing on “micro zones” of violence.

Schleifer said he’s “honored” by the appointment from Scott in a statement.

“Public safety has been one of my top priorities and a prime opportunity to leverage common purpose. All Baltimoreans desire and deserve safety in their homes, neighborhoods and schools. A clear, thoughtful and effective crime reduction plan, that incorporates community policing, is critical to the future of our City.”

Scott assigned Danielle McCray, his replacement in the 2nd District, to five committees, and made her vice chair of both the Taxation, Finance and Economic Development and Legislative Investigations committees.

Other assignments will largely stay the same, minus a couple substitutions among members. Here’s a full list of all 13 committee rosters for the 15-member council:

Budget and Appropriations
Eric Costello, Chair
Leon Pinkett, Vice chair
Bill Henry
Danielle McCray
Sharon Green Middleton
Isaac “Yitzy” Schleifer
Shannon Sneed

Cybersecurity and Emergency Preparedness
Eric Costello, co-chair
Isaac “Yitzy” Schleifer, co-chair
Sharon Green Middleton

Education and Youth
Zeke Cohen, Chair
Mary Pat Clarke, Vice chair
John Bullock
Kristerfer Burnett
Leon Pinkett

Executive Appointments
Robert Stokes, Chair
Kristerfer Burnett, Vice chair
Mary Pat Clarke
Zeke Cohen
Isaac “Yitzy” Schleifer

Health
Kris Burnett, Chair
Bill Henry, Vice chair
Mary Pat Clarke
Ed Reisinger
Isaac “Yitzy” Schleifer

Legislative Investigations
Kristerfer Burnett, Chair
Danielle McCray, Vice chair
Ryan Dorsey
Isaac “Yitzy” Schleifer
Shannon Sneed

Public Safety
Isaac “Yitzy” Schleifer, Chair
Kris Burnett, Vice chair
Zeke Cohen
Danielle McCray
Leon Pinkett
Shannon Sneed

Taxation, Finance and Economic Development
Sharon Middleton, Chair
Danielle McCray, Vice chair
Eric Costello
Ed Reisinger
Robert Stokes

Transportation
Ryan Dorsey, Chair
Leon Pinkett, Vice chair
John Bullock

Housing and Urban Affairs
John Bullock, Chair
Isaac “Yitzy” Schleifer, Vice Chair
Kristerfer Burnett
Zeke Cohen
Ryan Dorsey
Bill Henry
Shannon Sneed

Judiciary
Eric Costello, Chair
Mary Pat Clarke, Vice chair
John Bullock
Leon Pinkett
Ed Reisinger
Shannon Sneed
Robert Stokes

Labor
Shannon Sneed, Chair
Robert Stokes, Vice chair
Mary Pat Clarke
Bill Henry
Danielle McCray

Land Use
Ed Reisinger, Chair
Shannon Sneed, Vice chair
Mary Pat Clarke
Ryan Dorsey
Sharon Green Middleton
Leon Pinkett
Robert Stokes

This story has been updated.

Follow Ethan

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 Virginia. His freelance writing has been featured in CityLab, Slate, Baltimore City Paper, DCist and elsewhere.
Ethan McLeod
Follow Ethan


Share the News