Baltimore City Council Member Zeke Cohen (District 1) has called on Mayor Catherine Pugh to resign from office. Here is a statement from his Facebook page:

Today it was revealed that Mayor Pugh received a $114,000 payment from Kaiser Permanente for her Healthy Holly books. We learned that she accepted this money at a time when Kaiser was seeking a contract to provide city employee health benefits. Instead of recusing herself from the Board of Estimates vote when the contract came up, she voted in favor of it.

I wish Mayor Pugh a speedy recovery as she takes a leave of absence due to her illness. However, I believe she should fully resign from office. Mayor Pugh has lost the moral mandate to govern and the public’s trust. Baltimore deserves better.

Our city deserves to trust that our elected officials are acting ethically and in the interest of those they serve at every level. We know this issue is deeper than Mayor Pugh. I’m interested in continuing to explore the systemic changes that are needed to make our government as transparent and accountable as every one of us deserves.

Baltimore is not broken. Despite this challenging chapter, it remains the honor of a lifetime to serve on the City Council. I have great faith in the people of this city and in my colleagues on the Council who fight every day for a better Baltimore.

There were a number of new stories that broke today about Mayor Pugh…including the money paid by Kaiser for the Healthy Holly books, Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot calling on the Mayor to resign, Governor Hogan requesting that the state prosecutor to launch investigation into book sales…and then the Mayor stating she is taking an “indefinite leave of absence to recuperate from this serious illness”.

Do you believe that Mayor Pugh returns to office after this leave of absence? I am leaning towards no…but let me know what you think in the comments.

Scott E