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More reform bills being introduced in Baltimore's City Council amid 'Healthy Holly' scandal

The City Council will consider changing Baltimore’s charter amid a scandal over Democratic Mayor Catherine Pugh’s sale of her self-published “Healthy Holly” children’s series.

One of the proposals to be introduced Monday would allow the council to remove a mayor from office. The only way a sitting mayor can be forced out now is if the officeholder is convicted of a crime.

Pugh is facing calls from the council and others to resign after The Baltimore Sun reported that she struck $800,000 in book-sale deals, including some arrangements with entities doing business with the city.

FBI and IRS agents on Thursday searched City Hall, Pugh’s two Ashburton houses and a handful of properties affiliated with her. The Maryland Office of the State Prosecutor is also investigating her.

She has been on paid leave this month, citing a need to recover from pneumonia.

Other charter amendments to be introduced next week, according to an agenda posted online Friday, would allow council to decrease the number of votes needed to overturn a mayoral veto and give members the authority to add money to the city’s operating and capital budgets. Currently, the council can only subtract money from the mayor’s spending plans. Another proposed amendment to the charter would create the position of a city administrator.

If approved by the council, the charter amendments would go before voters for their approval in November 2020.

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