This is something of a side issue in the Freddie Gray case, but a significant one nonetheless. From Andrew Branca at Legal Insurrection:
We’re all familiar with the proverb, rats flee a sinking ship. To see this in action on a human scale we need look no further than the offices of Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
In a story that’s gotten remarkably little news coverage, the Baltimore Sun Times reports that four of the Mayor’s highest ranking staff have quit since six Baltimore police officers were charged in the death of Freddie Gray.
Among those who have resigned:
LeVar Michael, Head of the mayor’s Office of Nonviolent Programs, resigned on Wednesday, May 20.
Angela Johnese, Director of the Criminal Justice Office, resigned on Friday, May 22.
Heather Brantner, Coordinator of the Mayor’s Sexual Assault Response Team, also resigned on Friday, May 22. (Coincidence?)
Perhaps most shocking however, was the next resignation the following week:
Shannon Cosgrove, the Mayor’s own Deputy Director, resigned Tuesday, May 26 (the day after Memorial Day.)
For those without a calendar in front of them, that’s four high-level departures in a period of four business days.
And why is that significant? Don’t people leave jobs all the time? Yes, but not like this.
The people in high-level political positions are not simply hired through Craigslist. To be hired in the mayor’s office of a major US city, one must, first and foremost, be of the right political pedigree, in this case, Democrats. They must also have substantial political connections and be willing to do the bidding—dirty work—of those that hired them. Their loyalty to the maximum leader—in this case Stephanie Rawlings-Blake—must be unquestioned. And, for their loyalty and dirty works, they can expect higher and more lucrative positions and opportunities in the future. In essence, they hook their political fortunes and futures to the coattails of their boss. When such people leave, they commonly provide resignation letters with politically appropriate reasons for leaving, commonly praising their boss and the party apparatus regardless of their real feelings. Those real feelings may eventually be released in book form or not.
In this case, not one of them gave a reason for leaving. That’s highly unusual. One must maintain one’s political viability and continue to look attractive to other politicians.
In other totally predictable news it turns out that the mayor’s office’s initial estimate that the “space to destroy” riots had cost the City of Baltimore $9 million was a slight underestimate.
The actual figure?
In fact, apparently no one is even willing to hazard a guess at a specific figure.
It seems certain, however, that the actual damages exceed $20 million, more than double the mayor’s estimate, and perhaps exceed that figure by a great deal.
Perhaps the current figures will pale in comparison to the damage that is likely to be inflicted on the City of Baltimore should the prosecution of the six police officers collapse.
No doubt the dollar cost to Baltimore will greatly exceed $20 million. Lost tourism, lost investment, taxes lost to people fleeing the city, will add up quickly and catastrophically, and if demonstrations and riots continue, or God forbid, escalate… Let’s not mention the rapidly exploding murder and violent crime rates Ms. Rawling-Blake’s progressive orthodoxy and feckless leadership have provoked.
But hey, at least there’s a silver lining in the local city economy—the mayor’s office is likely to be hiring.
What’s going on here? Branca is almost certainly prescient: these are rats deserting a sinking ship. It’s possible Rawlings-Blake is in for a significant fall, one likely involving years behind bars. Why might that be? I’m not sure, but for her top underlings to flee so rapidly and abruptly suggests something that could conceivably catch them in the blast radius. Democrat rule + large city = massive corruption.
It’s difficult to imagine what else could cause these mass defections. Normally, leaving in this way would cause those fleeing to forfeit any chance of high-ranking political positions in the future, unless their flight was caused by reasons so understandable and serious they won’t be held against them in the future once those reasons are made public.
It’s unlikely the local prosecutor’s office would have anything to do with charges of this type. Marilyn Mosby and the Mayor need each other to sustain the social justice narrative and keep each other’s political viability afloat. However, a state or federal investigation could conceivably have been leaked to these upper level staffers who are fleeing before the final curtain comes irrevocably down.
Please keep in mind, gentle readers, that I have no specific information about this situation. I am merely speculating on possible reasons for an inexplicable occurrence. I suppose it is possible that all four of these upper ranking Democrat functionaries simply became fed up with Rawlings-Blake’s incompetence and fecklessness, but that seem unlikely. She was only doing what progressives do and expect of other progressives. Perhaps they all had a falling out over policy? Rawlings-Blake wasn’t as radically progressive as they expected and demanded?
Just another facet of this rapidly devolving situation upon which to keep an eye.
UPDATE, 06-06-15 1600 CST: With a hat tip to Andrew Branca at Legal Insurrection, there is more from the Baltimore Sun:
A fifth member of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s Office on Criminal Justice is leaving the agency, city officials confirmed.
Amy Hartman, who led city efforts to increase public safety in the southeast neighborhood of McElderry Park, has submitted her resignation — meaning nearly a third of the 16-member office is departing amid the recent surge in violence.
LeVar Michael, who led the city’s anti-violence program Operation Ceasefire, resigned in March over his concerns that the city wasn’t implementing the program properly. Last month, Angela Johnese, director of the criminal justice office, and Heather Brantner, the mayor’s Sexual Assault Response Team coordinator, left their posts. Officials declined to say under what terms they departed. And Shannon Cosgrove, the office’s deputy director, submitted her resignation days later.
All of the people leaving have apparently “declined to comment.” Hmmm.
The Mayor’s Office on Criminal Justice, founded in 1969, has a budget of $7.4 million.
Well. I wasn’t aware Baltimore had a “Mayors Office on Criminal Justice.” One can only imagine the mischief such an organization could cause in a Democrat-ruled city.
It just gets better and better.