Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh’s most recent major appointment continues a streak of top talent joining the new administration.
Baltimore native Andre M. Davis is the latest strong candidate to join Mayor Catherine Pugh’s administration. (Courtesy Photo)
The mayor announced on May 3 the appointment of U.S. Circuit Judge Andre M. Davis as city solicitor.
Davis, a senior judge on the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, simultaneously announced his retirement from the bench the same day; calling it a “mixed blessing.”
“It has been an extraordinary privilege and a high honor to have served the people of our city, state and country in the important work of safeguarding the rule of law,” he said in a statement.
“Baltimore is at an historic intersection as it seeks to continue to rebuild itself as a thriving, diverse, and welcoming community, one truly on the move to greater heights,” he added.
When he leaves the bench to take the job as the city’s lawyer at the end of August, Davis will end what will be a thirty year career as a judge.
Davis, a Baltimore native who attended high school in Massachusetts, college in Pennsylvania and law school at the University of Maryland School of Law, was first an associate judge in for the state District Court in 1987 later moving to the state Circuit Court. President Bill Clinton appointed him as judge for the U.S. District Court for Maryland in 1995. He was appointed to the 4th Circuit in 2009 by President Barack Obama and obtained senior status in 2014.
Steve Klepper, a Baltimore-based appellate attorney, said Davis is well respected in the legal community.
“He earned great respect from his time when he was a University of Maryland law professor,” Klepper said adding that Davis “is a judge who is unafraid of saying interesting things” and is not afraid to address topics other judges will not; “all within ethical bounds” of what a judge can do.
The appointment of Davis continues a line of what observers call “top talent” being recruited by the Pugh administration.
“This is one of the things you get when you elect somebody with years of experience,” said Mileah Kromer, director of the Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center at Goucher College.
Kromer adds Pugh knows the inner workings of government on a city and state level and understands the type of people needed for the roles needed. And she has tried to pick people to help round out areas of potential weakness.
Pugh, herself, has often said she doesn’t have all of the answers but would defer to others who might have more expertise in an area.
For example, Jill Carter, who now heads the city Office of Civil Rights and Wage Enforcement, was a long time delegate in Annapolis who supported police accountability, fair housing practices and other equality issues.
“ is somebody I think gives her some serious credibility with the more progressive community in Baltimore City,” Kromer said.
Peter Hammen, another former long-time delegate, oversees 12 city agencies as chief of operations. While he was in the legislature, Hammen was chairman of the Health and Government Operations Committee for more than a decade.
James T. Smith Jr., chief of strategic alliance, is not only a former Baltimore County Executive, he’s a former circuit judge and state transportation secretary.
Pugh has more appointments to announce. She has yet to pick permanent leaders for the departments of transportation or recreation and parks.
An announcement is coming in the next few weeks concerning new commissioners for housing and community development.