Readers Respond

Baltimore’s conduit contract with BGE contradicts charter amendment | READER COMMENTARY

Mayor Scott’s proposed effective donation of a city asset to BGE beggars the imagination. Not only does it do nothing for the city and all too much for BGE, it is patently unlawful, not merely a violation of the will of the voters (“Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott moving quickly on deal for BGE to take over conduit maintenance,” Feb. 1).

The mayor is trying to pretend that the contract would not violate the charter amendment which prohibits such transfers by alleging that the amendment only prohibits sale or lease and this would be neither of those. In fact, as noted by The Baltimore Brew, which first reported o the sale, the amendment was intended to prohibit “sale, transfer or franchise,” of the system and makes an explicit exception of the conduit system from the right to grant temporary “franchises or rights” in specified inalienable public property. The precise wording is:


“With the exception of the City’s sewer and water-supply system and underground conduit system for cables, wires and similar facilities, the City may grant for a limited time and subject to the limitations and conditions contained in the Charter specific franchises or rights in or relating to any of the public property or places mentioned in the preceding sentence.”

The plain English is, you may not do that to the conduit system.


The proposed BGE contract nevertheless grants the company sweeping rights, in apparent violation of the terms of the charter.

Is the mayor’s proposed violation of the charter under which he holds authority a criminal offense, and if not, why not? Do we have a government of laws, or of the whims of officials?

And where are all the lawyers when we need to stop an action of grievous harm to the city and its people?

— Katharine W. Rylaarsdam, Baltimore

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