Release: Board of Estimates Proposes New Governing Regulations
Tuesday Nov 16th, 2021
204 City Hall - Baltimore Maryland 21202
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Geoff Shannon, Public Relations Officer
Baltimore, MD - As part of the continued efforts to make the Board of Estimates more transparent and accessible, Comptroller Henry has proposed major changes to the Board’s operations.
More transparency around government spending
At its October 27th meeting the Board of Estimates noted it’s first-ever set of rules to govern the body’s operations. These provisions outline the Board’s meeting schedule, procedures for the item deferral process, and requirements for special meetings.
Notably, the rules and regulations propose a new process for protests. If approved, members of the public will be able to submit statements of opposition to Board items instead of following the highly-regulated procedures for protests regarding contract awards or bidding.
The new regulations were submitted for approval following a comprehensive internal analysis beginning last January.
James Knighton, the Director of Policy and Board of Estimates for the Comptroller’s Office presented the Rules & Regulations to the BOE.
“The Regulations are designed to standardize, rationalize, and from the point of view of the public, de-mystify the operations of the Board of Estimates,” said Knighton.
Starting Monday, November 15th, the proposals will be published for 30 days on the Law Department’s “Proposed Agency Regulations” webpage to allow for public comment, as well as the Comptroller's website. The regulations will then be submitted to the Board of Estimates in final form for approval before taking effect.
The public can review and comment on the proposed regulations by visiting the Comptroller's website. Feedback is due by the end of the day on December 15th.
Less meetings, more oversight
The Board of Estimates also noted the new schedule for 2022 that moves meetings to a bi-monthly basis.
Under the new schedule the Board will host bi-monthly meetings set for the first and third Wednesday of each month. An exception will be made for June and December, when the BOE will return to a weekly schedule to accommodate the end of the fiscal and calendar years. Special meetings can also be called if necessary.
“Moving to a bi-monthly schedule and producing our agenda a week in advance of the Board of Estimates meetings will allow both my office and our residents more time for scrutiny,” Comptroller Bill Henry said. “We want to make sure we can provide genuine oversight and that our residents are able to read and absorb the agenda in a timely manner.”
While the bi-monthly schedule will begin in January, the new submission process will not go into effect until later in 2022. This transition allows City agencies time to adjust their internal workflows.
“We want to thank the Offices of the Council President, the Mayor and the City Administrator and the agencies and offices we work with every day for their input and support,” Henry said. “These new regulations will offer our residents better transparency and give them a stronger voice in the process.”
The full schedule can be reviewed on the Comptroller’s website at https://comptroller.baltimorecity.gov/boe.