Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young are squabbling about who can take credit for expanded broadcasting of public meetings.
In a news release it was announced that the Mayor’s Office of Communications would begin broadcasting hearings of the Municipal and Zoning Appeals Board, Board of Liquor License Commissioners and the Board of Estimates online and on Cable TV 25 starting Wednesday.
"As we work to grow Baltimore in the coming years, it is vitally important that we invite residents to participate in every aspect of government," Rawlings-Blake said in the news release. "By making government more open and transparent, we can help residents better understand our decision making process and how they can become involved in the life of the city. I’m pleased that we are able to increase access to government meetings while decreasing the overall budget of TV25."
But just under two hours after that news release was sent to the media, the council president’s office sent a counter news release calling the mayor’s actions unscrupulous.
Young’s office maintains the reason these new meetings are being broadcast aren’t because of the mayor, but in fact because of the initiative of his office.
"The truth, in fact, is that the idea to televise these important hearings was the brainchild of Baltimore City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young, who along with members of the Council worked for nearly two years to televise these hearings," Young’s new release reads.
Young points out that the mayor’s office initially opposed the idea, and that the administration claimed it didn’t know if there was the money needed in the $1.2 billion budget to expand the broadcasts.
"This latest attempt by the administration to reject true partnership between the two branches of city government, in an attempt to score cheap media impressions, only furthers the unflattering narrative of an insular and uncooperative administration," the release reads.