May 10, 2019 State House Update

A major development in Baltimore City is the growing role of the Office of the Inspector General (OIG). The OIG is led by Isabel Cumming, who brings an extensive background and wealth of experience in fraud and abuse investigations, serving in similar roles in previous positions. To learn more about the current and future role of the OIG, please attend our next Newsmaker Breakfast on May 22, from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. at the GBC’s Office, 111 South Calvert Street, Suite 1700. To register or learn more about the event, click here.

The OIG, created a year ago after it was approved by Baltimore City voters, investigates allegations of misconduct, including fraud, waste and abuse, by Baltimore City employees and contractors, which may involve violations of criminal law, civil statutes, regulations or employee standards of conduct. Reports of the OIG include findings and recommendations regarding program weaknesses, contracting irregularities and other institutional problems that are discovered as a result of the investigations conducted by the office.

The GBC maintains that a strong climate for business competitiveness includes a system built around honest government and transparency. The idea of an independent inspector general is not new – the federal government has inspector generals for all 92 agencies. Some local jurisdictions also utilize the inspector general model, including the City of New Orleans and Miami-Dade County.

The elevated role of the OIG emerged as a policy issue during the 2019 session of the Maryland General Assembly with the introduction of Senate Bill 818 — Baltimore City – Office of the Inspector General – Authority Over Police Department of Baltimore City and Baltimore City Public Schools. The bill, which did not pass, sought to provide the OIG with the same authority over the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) and Baltimore City Public Schools (BCPS) that it has over all other departments of Baltimore City government or Baltimore City employees. This legislation may not return in 2020 as the OIG and BPD recently signed an agreement that gives the OIG the authority to investigate complaints of fraud and abuse within the department. It is uncertain if a similar agreement is being reached with BCPS.

Read the May 10, 2019 State House Update.