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Mayor Scott rejects effort to change requirements for Baltimore City Council pension plan

Mayor Scott rejects effort to change requirements for Baltimore City Council pension plan
Mayor Scott rejects effort to change requirements for Baltimore City Council pension plan 00:35

BALTIMORE -- Mayor Brandon Scott announced on Wednesday that he had vetoed a Baltimore City Council bill that would alter the requirements tied to a pension plan for elected city officials. 

Scott said in a letter to City Council President Nick Mosby that he saw multiple problems with the plan to reduce the pension requirements for Baltimore City elected officials from 12 years to 8 years.

"At this time . . . I cannot in good conscience sign City Council Bill 22-0292 into law without the benefit of a complete and thorough analysis," he said.

In an 8-5 vote on Nov. 21, the city council approved the decision to reduce the number of years needed to qualify for a pension from 12 to 8.  

The bill required Scott's signature by January.

Mosby is the bill's sponsor.  

Scott noted in his letter to Mosby that the pension change was introduced as being responsive to the potential passage of Question K on the 2022 general election ballot which established term limits for Baltimore City elected officials.

He also pointed out that "Question K, as passed, does not prevent any current City Council member from serving the full 12 years of service currently required to receive full benefits of the Elected Officials' Retirement System."

Thus, there is no urgency to act at this time, Scott said.

Additionally, Scott expressed concern about the ethics associated with local elected officials passing a law that would benefit them.

"This bill could authorize a change in the vesting date for currently serving elected officials allowing them to fully vest earlier than they would have under existing law," Scott said.

Ethics Board Chair Stephan Fogleman on Monday sent a letter to Scott asking him to delay a decision on the bill.   

"The ethics board is concerned it is impossible for the current council, while in term, to have voted in favor of the amendment without giving the appearance of a conflict of interest," Fogleman said in the letter.  

Some City Council members voted in favor of the bill while others took to Twitter to express their opposition to it.

Councilman Zeke Cohen said in a tweet that "President Mosby's bill creates a clear conflict of interest." 

Following the mayor's announcement, Cohen thanked Scott for vetoing Mosby's pension bill. 

"The people of Baltimore deserve better," Cohen said.

Earlier this month, Councilman Ryan Dorsey announced on Twitter that he intended on introducing a bill that would repeal term limits. 

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