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As Speed Camera Investigation Vote Looms, Council Remains Silent
Updated: Monday, January 27 2014, 11:22 AM EST
With legislation on the agenda that would allow the city council to take the unusual role of legal inquisitor into the workings of Mayor Stephanie-Rawlings-Blake's administration, council members themselves are being guarded about their support for the measure.
Councilman Carl Stokes introduced a resolution that would grant the Taxation and Finance committee he chairs subpoena powers and the right to compel testimony from city officials under oath. The legislation was drafted after the Baltimore Sun obtained a copy of a secret audit of the city's speed camera system which revealed it was more error prone than city officials would admit. The audit of the city's former camera enforcement vendor, Xerox, commissioned in 2013, was withheld from the public because city officials deemed it privileged information prepared under supervision of the law department for a pending lawsuit.
FOX45 sent emails to council members asking if they supported Stokes' bill, but so far only a handful have replied. Councilman Bill Henry is the only supporter of the bill, replying in an email that he has signed on as a co-sponsor.
"I support it and have agreed to co-sponsor it," Henry said.
Other council members say they are waiting for more information. Both Councilman William Cole and Rikki Spector told FOX45 they had not been briefed on the bill and were undecided on how to vote.
"It all depends on how it is worded," Cole wrote in an email.
The city charter grants the council the right to compel testimony under other oath by approving a resolution. However, the success of Stokes' measure hinges on the a majority of council members – a total of nine members must vote in favor.
CLICK HERE for the audit.