City officials dispute Conaway suit

Disputing claims that Mayor Martin O'Malley has a "carpetbagger Cabinet," Baltimore officials said yesterday that only four of the 17 people named in a lawsuit must by law live and be registered to vote in the city - and that those four meet the requirements.

But Frank M. Conaway, the Baltimore mayoral candidate and Circuit Court clerk behind the suit, was not backing down.


He contends that under the city charter, O'Malley must fire some of his top aides - including his police commissioner - because they belatedly moved or registered to vote in the city.

Conaway filed a lawsuit Tuesday calling for 17 high-ranking city officials to be removed from their jobs, claiming they do not live or vote in Baltimore as required by the city charter.


But those requirements apply only to four mayoral appointees on that list, said City Solicitor Ralph S. Tyler. They are: Police Commissioner Kevin P. Clark, Fire Chief William J. Goodwin Jr., Housing Director Paul T. Graziano and Director of Human Resources Elliott L. Wheelan.

All four reside and are registered to vote in Baltimore, Tyler said.

Conaway said it is possible that the four mayoral appointees have moved and registered to vote in the city, but that they failed to do so within six months of their appointments, as required by the charter.

The heads of city departments and bureaus must live in the city at the time of their appointment and remain residents and registered voters during their terms of office, the charter states.

The only exception is for those holding office before Jan. 1, 1975, and those who sign a "declaration of intent" to move to the city and register to vote there within six months of their appointment.

"If that department or bureau head fails to abide by this declaration of intent, then the appointment shall be terminated," the charter states.

City officials said it was not clear if any of the four appointees had missed the six-month deadline. But even if they did, Tyler suggested there might be a loophole if they had not filed the declaration.