She asked Cabinet members to explain what their department should accomplish in the next year and the next four years to "move our city forward and get Baltimore growing again." She asked what her administration should do to support those efforts.

Cabinet members were also asked to describe a city leader who "taught you the most about effective management," detail one thing they would change if they were mayor for a day and explain how the city should "improve its relationship with customers."

The questionnaire asks Cabinet members to specify which programs could be cut and which deserve more funding. The city has faced three years of budget shortfalls, and the outlook for the coming fiscal year appears grim.

M.J. "Jay" Brodie, president of the Baltimore Development Corp., the city's quasi-public development arm, said he urges his leadership team to focus on "continuous improvement."

"To have the mayor ask those very intriguing questions made us think about it more," he said.

Brodie, who has not yet had his meeting with the mayor, said he wished he had more space to respond to the questions. The mayor asked Cabinet members to limit their answers to two pages.

Rawlings-Blake has indicated that she plans to implement significant changes at the BDC. In her first interview after the election last month, she said she would continue to reorganize the agency and shift its focus to retaining more businesses in the city.

Donald Norris, chairman of the public policy department at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, said political leaders often re-evaluate their deputies after an election.

"This is a reasonable time to expect those kinds of things to begin happening," he said.

"She now has been elected on her own. She's clearly going to be setting her own agenda and putting her own people in power," he said.

City Solicitor George Nilson said he did not read the questionnaire as "a reapplication document."

Nilson said he scrambled to answer the questions after returning from a vacation. He has not yet met with Rawlings-Blake.

"I'm assuming she's going into all of these conversations with an open mind, but anyone in her position would have notions and preliminary thoughts after working with these people closely in the past year and a half," he said.

julie.scharper@baltsun.com

twitter.com/juliemore

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