By Catherine Pugh,
Special to the AFRO

It took the Baltimore City Council’s Rules and Legislative Oversight Committee less than 20 minutes to approve the nomination of Faith Leach as Baltimore City Administrator. 

The March 13 unanimous vote marked an abrupt reversal of the special committee’s March 9 rejection of the nomination.  Leach has been serving as acting city administrator since January and prior to that she was deputy mayor for equity, overseeing several departments and programs.

In the March 9 vote, Council Vice President Sharon Green Middleton, along with committee members Erik Costello, Mark Conway and Isaac “Yitzy” Schleifer peppered Leach with questions about how the post would function.

Council member James Torrence left the meeting because he said he questioned the legitimacy of the vote to reject Leach. 

“This is an election year,” he said, “and this is grandstanding at its best.”  

Torrence apologized for his behavior, but pledged to work on clarifying council rules on votes.

Council President Nick Mosby said he was annoyed by the way the nomination was addressed.  “We are here today and looking forward to engaging this administration around this important matter,” he said. 

His remarks came after Leach, Mayor Brandon Scott and council members met privately to iron out how Leach’s position will function.

After the private meeting, council members said they never questioned Leach’s ability to do the job, but had many unanswered questions around the operations of the office.

In the wake of the meeting, council members said disagreements about procedure were settled. “This past weekend has been one of the best collaborative operations in building relationships.

“We are here as a legislative body. There is a lot of work to be done… and we are all ready to work with you to make that happen,” said Middleton to Leach.  

Costello told Leach, “You are a brilliant, dedicated hard working public servant who is always responsive.  This was about concerns of the administration and how this office was structured. I am confident after conversations we’ve had over the weekend with the mayor, you and others we can work through those concerns.”

Leach said she is grateful for the agreement and pledged a straightforward approach to the job.

“What you will see from me moving forward and what you will see from this administration is an administration that communicates, an administration that  coordinates and an administration that works for the betterment of this city in partnership with members of  this body. Thank you for your confidence in me,” she said.

Leach has a track record of hard work.

In April 2021, she was appointed deputy mayor of equity, health and human services overseeing several agencies including recreation and parks, immigrant affairs, library and homeless services. 

She came to Baltimore from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation in New York City where she served as chief of staff. She also served in local government under D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, where she was  chief of staff to the deputy mayor of economic opportunity and as a special projects manager in the office of the city administrator.

Baltimore City Mayor Brandon M. Scott issued a statement regarding the vote on March 13.

“Following a weekend of productive collaboration, I am proud to announce that Faith Leach is confirmed as Baltimore’s Chief Administrative Officer. With her exceptional leadership skills and expertise, I am confident that she will be instrumental in propelling our City forward,” said Scott. “Furthermore, I view her confirmation as a pivotal moment in forging a deeper partnership between my Administration and the City Council, paving the way for more fruitful collaboration in the future. I am eager to see what we can achieve together and the positive impact we can make for Baltimore.”

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