An aide in Baltimore City Council President Brandon Scott’s office who applied to fill his former district seat said she was fired this week.
Neighborhood liaison Glenda Curtis said she applied last month for the vacancy, despite warnings from community leaders that doing so might rankle Scott, because she was committed to her neighborhood in the Northeast Baltimore district.
After being told Monday that she was being fired, Curtis said she thinks her council application cost her the job she held since 2017. Curtis earned an annual salary of $51,000 in fiscal year 2018, according to Baltimore City’s public salary database.
“My work has not ever been in question,” she said Wednesday. “That’s the only thing I’ve done that's outside what anyone else has done.”
Michael Huber, Scott’s chief of staff, declined to comment on a personnel issue.
“The council president is focused on building a mission-driven team that will deliver results for the people of Baltimore,” Huber said.
When Mayor Catherine Pugh resigned in May, then-Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young moved up to mayor. To replace him, the council elected Scott, who represented the 2nd District at the time. Pugh, Young and all of the council members are Democrats.
A nominating committee selected Danielle McCray, who was an aide to Scott in his district office, to fill his seat. The council voted to confirm her and she was sworn in June 11.
Curtis said that during the selection committee’s hearing for applicants, she made a comment intended as a criticism of nepotism in politics, a comment she acknowledged was a reference to McCray, who is a sister of Democratic state Sen. Cory McCray, an ally of Scott’s.
“I think we need to breed a new generation of new thinking, new priorities and kind of do away with old politics,” Curtis said at the hearing.
Nonetheless, Curtis said she thought her job was secure because she thought she heard Scott say in a staff meeting that he would keep Young’s former workers in the council president’s office.
So, when she was asked Monday to meet with Huber, Curtis said she thought she might getting a promotion. Instead, she said she was told Friday would be her last day and she didn’t need come in for the rest of the week.
“I said, ‘So, let me get this straight. This has nothing to do with my work performance.’ Michael Huber said, ‘Absolutely not. I've enjoyed working with you these past two years,’” Curtis said. “They said that ‘Brandon, he has a different mission for this office and he feels you don’t have the level of commitment he was looking for.’”
Curtis acknowledged she had sought other opportunities so she wouldn’t be out of work in case Scott made staffing changes. But she said she loved her current job, which involved representing the council president in a pair of districts in Northeast Baltimore.
Curtis said she also ran afoul of Scott in the past over an issue to do with legislation he co-sponsored when she told residents with concerns to contact him.
Ultimately, she thinks the change from Young to Scott as council president, the past dispute over the legislation and her decision to apply for the vacancy factored into his decision to fire her.
“I just think it’s a combination of all those things, maybe, but more so about me applying to be the council person in his district,” Curtis said.