Delegate Challenges Mayor’s Pension

A Letter from Delegate Don Dwyer to State Prosecutor Rohrbaugh.  It will be interesting if 1) this even gets picked up by the Press, and 2) what, if any, kid of response he’ll get from the powers that be (except a little gerrymandering in order to get him out of office…not that they’ve ever done that in the past).

Office of State Prosecutor

Robert A. Rohrbaugh

300 East Joppa Road
Hampton Plaza, Suite 410
Towson, MD 21286-3152

January 8, 2010

Dear Mr. Rohrbaugh,

As a member of the Maryland Legislature and the House Judiciary committee I am concerned with media reports that Mayor Shelia Dixon has been permitted to resign her position as Mayor while facing a conviction and sentence that would ultimately have resulted in removal without pay or benefit.  As I understand, the Mayor was “convicted” on December 2. 2009 buy a Jury regarding the improper use of gift cards.

The state constitution under Article XV required that the Mayor be suspended without pay or benefit upon conviction. That suspension should have taken place on December 2nd.

Under the plain and clear language of Article XV not only was the Mayor not suspended, she has now been given the opportunity to take an Alford plea (nolo contendere) in a separate perjury case that derived from the original case.  As result of the “deal” she has retained the “benefit” of a lifetime pension and been cleared of the original conviction.  As I read it, this is in direct violation of the state constitution.

Now that the deal has been cut, what happens to the original case and the conviction that required suspension without pay or benefit?  When will she be sentenced under the original conviction of December 2nd?

Would you please explain in detail how the Mayor is allowed a pension and how this is permissible under the law when the requirements of the state constitution under Article XV clearly prohibit it?

Article XV Sec. 2

Any elected official of the State, or of a county or of a municipal corporation who during his term of office is convicted of or enters a plea of nolo contendere (an Alford plea) to any crime which is a felony, or which is a misdemeanor related to his public duties and responsibilities and involves moral turpitude for which the penalty may be incarceration in any penal institution, shall be suspended by operation of law without pay or benefits from the elective office.

Also explain why the Governor has not acted as instructed by Article XI Sec. 6, to remove the Mayor.

ARTICLE XI

SEC. 6. The Mayor shall, on conviction in a Court of Law, of wilful neglect of duty, or misbehavior in office, be removed from office by the Governor of the State, and a successor shall thereafter be elected, as in a case of vacancy.

Given the clear language of Article XV and XI, I respectfully request that the state consider an immediate reversal of the pension on the grounds that the state constitution specifically prohibits it.  I would also ask that the Governor act immediately in accordance with Article XI to remove Mayor Dixon from office.

Maryland citizens are outraged at the outcome of this trial and the possibility that the Mayor will receive a pension for life.

Your prompt response would be greatly appreciated.

Constitutionally yours,

State Delegate Don H. Dwyer, Jr.

c.c. Governor Martin O’Malley

Maryland Attorney General Gansler

Speaker of the House

President of the Senate

Chairman, House Judiciary Committee

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One Response to Delegate Challenges Mayor’s Pension

  1. Pingback: Delegate Challenges Mayor’s Pension « PVRC Blog « Augie in '10 for 12A

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