Via: The Baltimore Sun
Baltimore State’s Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy said that she will file for an injunction against the mayor and City Council if an “unconstitutional” budget recommendation is not corrected.
“If you fail to revise your recommendation to the [Board of Estimates] I shall have no choice but to pursue a legal remedy,” Jessamy wrote in a letter mailed last week to city Finance Director Edward J. Gallagher and copied to Mayor Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake’s chief of staff. She will decide within a week whether to ask for an injunction preventing implementation of the budget.
Jessamy is concerned about the elimination of 14 outreach positions, which act as liaisons between District Court and the community, from the city prosecutor’s office. They were cut from the proposed budget in a summary released in March, much to Jessamy’s chagrin. She says the mayor’s office can’t tell her, as an independently elected official, how to spend her funds.
The mayor’s spokesman, Ryan O’Doherty, acknowledged Wednesday that Jessamy’s office is independent from the mayor’s, though he declined to address the contents of Jessamy’s letter, which he had not seen. He said the mayor continues “conversations with Ms. Jessamy” and is confident that a resolution will be reached, with “the understanding that every agency” will take a hit this year.
Jessamy told Baltimore Sun’s reporter Tricia Bishop, “I’m in dire straits right now. I have a constitutional responsibility to manage my agency, and defendants have a right to speedy trial. It’s really getting to be a problem.”
Jessamy said she has now reduced spending by $2.6 million and her office has 32 vacant positions. But still, her budget has dropped from $26,859,385 in fiscal year 2010 to a recommended $25,740,612 for the coming year.
“I’m way beyond the bottom line that they gave me,” she said. “We are in desperate need, and it is no longer a laughing matter. It’s very serious.”