I just came from a Baltimore Board of Estimates meeting where the Minority Contractor lawyer did a good job showing that the Mayor's lawyer, Nilson, creates financial law rulings for Mayor Rawlings-Blake that fails time and again to meet City Charter and Constitutional law. We will take these to court with our without a public justice lawyer as they cost taxpayers huge amounts in overpayment every year and they allow all labor and justice law be circumvented at will.
I know this is happening in your neck of the woods so please look at how City Hall is allowing City Ordinance to trump City Charter laws. As this legal representative for the Minority Contractors stated.....time and time again you are using Ordinances to justify a bid even when it violates the City Charter. City Charters take the lead in all city legislation. Nilson said this has been happening for a decade...like it is alright because it has been used inappropriately for years.....the lawyer said that was untrue...it has only been misused since Rawlings-Blake and Nilson came on the scene. What is important is that all this allows corporations to trump people's Constitutional rights. We already have trouble with suspension of Rule of Law as regards corporate fraud and now we are seeing corporations being allowed to trump Constitutional/City Charter rights.
I gave a Federal example of a case that does the same thing. In this case it was a global corporation being sued by small business for adding to their contract for service that Constitutional rights like class action law suits could not be used against this global corporation, negating the right of citizens to do just that. Now, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations could right these clauses into business contracts. What we have not seen that would negate all of this is MONOPOLY?ANTI-TRUST lawsuits from the US Justice Department. We have in the US global corporations taking all of the business market for a service that is necessary and that effects the ability to compete, not to mention price-fixing so that consumers have lower prices. Around the world many of US global corporations are being hit with Anti-Trust/Monopoly law suits not to mention Privacy law suits as Constitutional law is upheld by these nations' Justice Department. So, regardless of the Supreme Court's ruling.....that global corporation should not be able to do this because if it had competitors that people could go to for similar service they would lose business....ergo, they would not have that written into contracts.
From Federal level to state and local you are seeing corporate politicians handing your Constitutional rights to corporations by deliberately neglecting Rule of Law or by actively circumventing law. In Baltimore we have both....but we also have a shadow system of government that uses public private status and incorporation to allow private non-profits such as Baltimore Development Corporation legal immunity from Constitutional law.....which is why Baltimore's power structure.....Johns Hopkins for one has designed this shadow system!
This is the problem and the solution is that you keep voting these same pols and their farm team into office. Do not vote republican because they will do the same.....RUN AND VOTE LABOR AND JUSTICE AND TAKE BACK THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY FROM NEO-LIBERALS!
IS A CHARTER AMENDMENT NEEDED ON HOW THE CITY SPENDS? VOTER REFERENDUM NEEDED?
City Ordinance Vs. City Charter
by Jenna Carlesso Categorized: Internal Audit Commission, Pedro Segarra Date: April 9, 2013
The city’s internal audit commission, capping an investigation into an anonymous complaint, has found that six Hartford workers — including the chief operating officer and chief of police — are unlawfully employed because they retired from the city, but have been back on the payroll for more than six months, a source familiar with the investigation told Cityline yesterday.
Basically, the issue breaks down like this: A city ordinance enacted in 2005 states that retired city employees “shall only be eligible to return to city employment in a temporary … position for a maximum of six months in a fiscal year.”
The audit commission found that six employees (Saundra Kee Borges, the city’s corporation counsel who was recently named chief operating officer; Police Chief James Rovella; Andrew Jaffee, head of emergency services and telecommunication; Nancy Mulroy, a police department spokeswoman; Linda Bayer, a civic engagement consultant; and Betty Szubinski, an administrative assistant) violated the ordinance because they’ve served in their positions for more than six months. All of them are city retirees.
However, the city’s deputy corporation counsel, L. John Van Norden, wrote to the commission that the city charter supersedes the ordinance. He wrote this is an e-mail:
“[The ordinance] is one discrete provision in a much larger comprehensive revision of the city personnel policies and procedures which the council codified in 2005. It is an ordinance and as such is superior to a resolution but subordinate to federal and state law and to the charter. To the extent an ordinance is in conflict with federal or state law or the city charter, the superior laws prevail.
The Charter vests the mayor with authority to make appointments with only one restriction, confirmation of certain executive level appointees (but not all) by the council. Thus, at least for department heads and direct mayoral appointees, the restriction on rehiring city retirees arguably usurps the mayor’s authority since the charter contains no such restriction on eligibility.”
The commission is expected to send letters about their finding to the mayor, city council, city treasurer and corporation counsel soon, a source said. It is not expected to make any recommendations as to how city officials should remedy the situation.
We’ll have more on this in tomorrow’s paper. You can also read city blogger Kevin Brookman’s post on it here.
Make no mistake we are watching as a deliberate policy of circumvention happens in our bidding contract by Nilson and Mayor Rawlings-Blake. It is padding many of these contract bids with a bolis of taxpayer money.....and it is killing all of the labor and justice laws we have on the books. The only winners are corporate interests.
Below you see how one city took it into their own hands to gain control of a public works project. Here in Baltimore we want the control of these bids brought back to the City Council as we work to Term Limit the incumbents and keep the farm team away!
Charter Amendment vs. Ordinance
A charter amendment and an ordinance differ in the following ways: 1. Measure P places before the voters an Amendment to the City Charter. The Amendment to the City Charter will be on the November 2012 ballot. If the voters approve Measure P, then the Charter Amendment will become part of the City Charter (which is like our local constitution).
The Charter Amendment has two advantages over an Ordinance adopted by the City Council.
First, the Amendment states specifically that the City Council cannot permit the construction, operation, acquisition of a desalination project or incur debt for the project unless the voters give prior approval for those actions at a regularly scheduled election.
Second, once the Charter Amendment is approved by the voters, it can be changed only by the voters, at another election. The City Council cannot change the City Charter on its own.
2. In an effort to forestall Measure P, the City Council adopted an Ordinance that requires the City to seek voters’ approval of the desalination plant’s construction. The Ordinance has two major shortcomings:
First, like any other Ordinance, it can be totally repealed or changed at any time by the present City Council or any future Council, without voters’ input.
Second, the Ordinance addresses only the question of the “desalination plant’s construction.” The Ordinance does not have any specific limitations to prevent the City Council from incurring debt and from starting (before voters’ approval) the many activities which are above and beyond the construction of the actual desalination plant, such as the construction of the extensive infrastructure which is necessary to take in the seawater, transport it to the desalination plant, and build the related distribution infrastructure and brine disposal system. The single, clearly stated limitation in the Ordinance relates only to the plant construction. In summary, the Charter Amendment addresses the entire “desalination project,” while the Ordinance addresses only the “construction of the desalination plant.”
While the Santa Cruz city council approved an ordinance to put desal on the ballot (after the Right-to-Vote-on-Desal Coalition began its campaign for a charter amendment), how democratic is it if the powers-that-be have the legal right to withdraw the ordinance before it’s voted on?
Approval of Measure P would put the decision inalienably in the voters’ hands.
I want to remind Baltimore citizens that we are organizing to petition to referenda changes to the City Charter as regards the Mayor's power especially with awarding contracts and with Retroactive Term Limits for all Baltimore elected officials.
We can easily get the signatures for these referenda. Let's make City Hall have to come to the people to fund public works and development!!!
11-A.5 Amendments to any charter adopted by the City of Baltimore or by any County of this State under the provisions of this Article may be proposed by a resolution of the Mayor of Baltimore and the City Council of the City of Baltimore, or the Council of the County, or by a petition signed by not less than 20% of the registered voters of the City or County, provided, however, that in any case 10,000 signatures shall be sufficient to complete a petition. A petition shall be filed with the Mayor of Baltimore or the President of the County Council. An amendment so proposed shall be submitted to the voters of the City or County at the next general or congressional election occurring after the passage of the resolution or the filing of the petition. If at the election the majority of the votes cast for and against the amendment shall be in favor thereof, the amendment shall be adopted and become a part of the charter of the City or County from and after the thirtieth day after said election. The amendments shall be published by the Mayor of Baltimore or President of the County Council once a week for five successive weeks prior to the election in at least one newspaper published in said City or County.
11-A.7 The word "Petition" as used in this Article means one or more sheets written or printed, or partly written and partly printed. There shall be attached to each paper of signatures filed with a petition an affidavit of the person procuring those signatures that the signatures were affixed in his presence and that, based upon the person's best knowledge and belief, every signature on the paper is genuine and bona fide and that the signers are registered voters at the address set opposite or below their names. The General Assembly shall prescribe by law the form of the petition, the manner for verifying its authenticity, and other administrative procedures which facilitate the petition process and which are not in conflict with this Article. The false signing of any name, or the signing of any fictitious name to said petition shall be forgery, and the making of any false affidavit in connection with said petition shall be perjury.