"How are they going to be trashing someone they just rehired?" he asked. "It doesn't make sense, obviously."

He also took issue with statements from the mayor's office that the document is not an "audit," but a "review."

"The citizens don't care what you call it," Stokes said. "They call it a mess. They call it a sham. The citizens of Baltimore have paid millions to get out of two contracts where two vendors have performed poorly." The city terminated its contract with Xerox's successor, Brekford Corp., in December because of problems with that firm's system.

City officials have said the administration better trusted a Xerox review of about 7,000 of its tickets. The administration has said that study — also never released — was conducted in December 2012, after the city decided to switch to Brekford amid a Baltimore Sun investigation of errors in the Xerox program. Xerox said at the time that it had detected a 5.2 percent error rate at five cameras, and the city issued about 350 refunds.

Though the city's speed and red-light camera systems have been offline since April, the mayor has said she plans to launch a new program this year.

Driver advocacy group AAA Mid-Atlantic and some lawmakers have urged local governments to conduct audits of their speed camera programs after learning that the city audit documented far higher error rates than previously disclosed. Baltimore and Howard counties have argued that audits of their programs are unnecessary. Annapolis police said they were open to an audit.

Ragina Cooper-Averella, government affairs manager for AAA Mid-Atlantic and a member of Rawlings-Blake's speed camera task force, said she was concerned that the panel was never made aware of the URS study. She said she also found it "troubling" that the city better trusts a study conducted by a camera company of its own tickets than one by an independent consulting firm.

"Since Day One, this has been a blame game of finger-pointing," Cooper-Averella said. "The reality is, the city's speed camera program is flawed. It's time for the city to stop blaming everyone and recognize there were tremendous errors under their original vendor. It's a public matter. It's a public issue. It's allegedly about public safety. The public has a right to know."

Stokes said he hopes the council and the mayor's office can work together to address problems with the speed camera system.

"This ought not be a 'gotcha' moment," he said. "This should not be a battle. This should not be about whether the mayor did something wrong. It should be a time when we work together to get to the bottom of this for the citizens."

lbroadwater@baltsun.com

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