THE CITIZENS of Baltimore deserve a fresh, new and highly skilled manager to oversee the city's Department of Audits, Real Estate, Insurance and other departments under the direct supervision of the comptroller.
Throughout my campaign, I have been quite often asked by many, "Why do you want to be the comptroller of Baltimore?" The answers are many and varied.
Yet each time this question is raised, it provides me another opportunity to articulate more of my reasons. They include a strong desire to marry more than 20 years of auditing, tax and financial-analysis experience with my sincere commitment to serve the citizens of Baltimore.
As a certified public accountant, being comptroller would give me an opportunity to demonstrate a style of moral leadership, objectivity, advocacy, integrity and fiscal management; it would also allow for the establishment of policies and procedures required to protect taxpayers' money.
As comptroller, I will carefully assess current practices and move with haste to correct deficiencies. I propose to:
* Establish an Office of Performance Measurement Evaluation.
* Establish a Citizens Advisory Review Board on Fraud, Waste and Abuse.
* Reorganize the Department of Audits.
* Create a conference on economic empowerment.
My professional experiences and educational background make me eminently qualified to hold this office. My bachelor of science degree in accounting and master's degree in taxation have been invaluable tools in helping me fulfill my responsibilities as controller of the Legal Aid Bureau, trustee for the Baltimore Employees Retirement System, trustee for the Fire and Police Retirement System, trustee for Bethel A.M.E. Church and in running my own firm, Joan M. Pratt, C.P.A. & Associates.
As your candidate for comptroller of Baltimore, I will be more than a mere "watchdog" for taxpayers' money. I will be diligent in seeking new avenues to invest the city's billions of dollars in pension funds, solicit citizens' input on alternative revenue sources, conduct money-saving audits of all city agencies and projects and constantly identify ways to reduce property taxes. This is my commitment to you.
The fact that I have not had a career in politics is, in the opinion of many voters, a plus. The comptroller should be independent and free from any political pressures and influences that are not in the best interest of Baltimore. The comptroller's responsibility is to make certain elected officials and employees of the city are provided with information that will enable them to make wise and sound fiscal decisions which benefit the citizens of Baltimore.
Of course my mission as comptroller would include financial auditing. My entire strategic plan will involve exercising and maximizing my authority as a member of the Board of Estimates. In that role, I would:
* Encourage new business development and entrepreneurship.
* Promote home ownership for low- and middle-income people.
I clearly understand the degree of trust voters will expect of me and I am prepared to vigorously meet the challenge with integrity. Baltimore needs a visionary -- a comptroller who understands fiscal responsibility and management.
I believe I am the candidate most qualified to lead Baltimore into the 21st century.