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Acting Baltimore Mayor Young 'would hate to see' Mayor Pugh return from her leave of absence

Acting Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young said Tuesday he is frustrated he doesn’t know more about Mayor Catherine Pugh’s plans to return from a leave of absence — and when asked what it would look like if Pugh returned to her duties, he said, “I would hate to see it.”

Young made the comments during an interview with host Tom Hall on WYPR-FM’s “Midday” show. They were clearest indication Young has given that he doesn’t want Pugh to come back to work, but he stopped short of calling for her resignation.

Pugh announced April 1 she would take an immediate, indefinite and paid leave of absence from her $185,000-a-year position to recover from pneumonia. Young, the City Council president, stepped up to fill the role of mayor.

Young told Hall that he hasn’t spoken with Pugh for more than two weeks and doesn’t know her current health status or plans.

“It’s frustrating,” Young said. “I would like to know when she plans to return, if she’s going to return.”

After Young said he would hate to see Pugh return, Hall asked if that meant he was calling on Pugh to resign. Young said he was not doing so.

“I’m not going to say that,” Young said. “I’m wishing the mayor well.”

Pugh’s leave coincided with revelations about some $800,000 in payments she received for her children’s “Healthy Holly” books — some of the money from organizations with business before the city. The Office of the State Prosecutor is investigating the book deals and Young has ordered a review of recently awarded city contracts.

The 14 members of the City Council called April 8 on Pugh to resign; Young has said that as acting mayor, it wouldn’t be appropriate for him to comment on whether she should quit. The city members of the state House of Delegates and the Greater Baltimore Committee civic organization have joined in the council’s call for Pugh to step down.

Pugh, Young, the City Council members and the city’s House delegates are Democrats.

Pugh’s staff has said she intends to come back to work once her health improves. Her attorney, Steven Silverman, did not respond Tuesday to a message seeking comment.

Young has placed six aides to Pugh on paid leave, but has said repeatedly he can’t confirm or comment on the moves. Hall asked Young who was doing the work of the staff members who are not on the job.

“As my executive team continues to vet what's needed and what’s not needed,” Young said, “we will fill those positions, as appropriate.”

iduncan@baltsun.com

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