Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Baltimore City Police Commissioner's Employment Contract Does Not Trump State Law

In February 2003, the Mayor of Baltimore entered an employment agreement with Kevin Clark. Under the agreement, Clark was to serve as Baltimore City's Police Commissioner. The Agreement permitted the Mayor to remove Clark without cause.

Sure enough, on November 10, 2004, the Mayor notified Clark that his employment terminated was being terminated without cause.

Clark sued the City alleging that despite the employment agreement's language, the Mayor could remove the Commission only with cause and upon notice and a hearing. In a June 30, 2006 decision, the Court of Special Appeals agreed with Clark. According to the Court:

  • The Baltimore City Police Department is a State agency.
  • The Mayor has the authority to appoint the Commissioner;
  • State law allows the Mayor to remove the Commissioner for misconduct, malfeasance, inefficiency, incompetence or prolonged illness; and
  • The Mayor must give the Commissioner notice of why he is being removed and a hearing to contest the charges.

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