Baltimore City Council

Baltimore City Council
Coat of arms or logo
Council President
Bernard "Jack" Young, Democratic
Since 2010
Seats 14
Electoral districts with four-year terms
Last election
November 8, 2011
Meeting place
Baltimore City Hall
Council Chamber
Baltimore, MD

The Baltimore City Council is the legislative branch that governs the City of Baltimore and its nearly 700,000 citizens. It has 14 members elected by district and a president elected at-large; all serve four-year terms. The Council holds regular meetings on alternate Monday evenings on the fourth floor of the Baltimore City Hall.[1] The Council has seven standing committees, all of which must have at least three members.

To qualify for a position on the Council, a person must be 18 years of age, a registered voter, a U.S. citizen, and a resident of Baltimore and the district. If a position on the Council is vacated, a new representative from the Council District is elected by a majority vote of the Council.[2] The President receives an annual salary of $100,450 (as of 2009);[3] other councilmembers get $57,000 (as of 2007).[4]


In 1729, the Maryland General Assembly authorized the erection of Baltimoretown on the north side of the Patapsco and appointed a group of commissioners to govern it. In 1797, the General Assembly granted a charter that created the office of Mayor and City Council. The Council was divided into 2 branches, and membership required heavy property qualifications. During its early history the council was composed exclusively of white, non-Jewish males.[5]

In 1826, the Maryland General Assembly passed the "Jew Bill", which allowed Jews to hold public office in the state. Two leaders in the fight for the law were Jacob I. Cohen Jr. (1789–1869) and Solomon Etting (1764–1847), who subsequently won election to the Council and became the first Jewish officeholders in the state.[6]

In 1890, Harry Sythe Cummings was elected to the council, becoming the state's first black elected official. In the 40 years after 1890, six black Republicans won elections to the council.

In 1918, the General Assembly enacted all local laws affecting the city; since then the Mayor and City Council assumed those responsibilities. In the November election of 1922, the voters through petition replaced a two-branch council with a unicameral one and Baltimore abolished its old system of small wards, replacing them with much larger districts. In 1943, Ella Bailey became the first woman elected to the City Council.

In 2003, as a result of the ballot initiative, Question P, the Baltimore City Council went from six three-member districts to 14 single-member districts or from 18 members to 14 members. The council president continued to be elected at-large.


The records of the City Council, dates ranging from 1797 to 1987, reside at the Baltimore City Archives in Record Group BRG16.[7] The collection includes administrative files, volumes of proceedings, joint council session reports, correspondence, ordinances and resolutions, committee bills, hearing schedules, and other records.

Current Members of the Baltimore City Council

DistrictBornMemberPartyElectedPrimary Committee
1 Baltimore James B. Kraft Democratic 2004 Judiciary and Legislative Investigations (Chair)
2 Baltimore Brandon M. Scott Democratic 2011
3 Baltimore Robert W. Curran Democratic 1995 Executive Appointments (Chair)
4 Baltimore Bill Henry Democratic 2007 Education
5 Baltimore Rochelle "Rikki" Spector Democratic 1977 Executive Appointments
6 Baltimore Sharon Green Middleton Democratic 2007[8] Urban Affairs and Aging
7 Baltimore Nick J. Mosby Democratic 2011 Labor (Vice Chair), Education, Community Development
8 Helen Holton Democratic 1995 Taxation and Finance
9 Pete Welch Democratic 2011 Urban Affairs and Aging (Chair)
10 Baltimore Edward Reisinger Democratic 1995 Land Use and Transportation (Chair)
11 New York Eric Costello Democratic 2014 Parks and Recreation (Vice-Chair)
12 Baltimore Carl Stokes Democratic 2010[9] Taxation, Finance and Economic Development
13 Baltimore Warren Branch Democratic 2007 Budget and Appropriations
14 Providence Mary Pat Clarke Democratic 1975 Education (Chair)
At-Large Baltimore Bernard "Jack" Young Democratic 2010[10] Council President


  1. "Rules of the City Council of Baltimore" (PDF). Baltimore City Council. Archived (PDF) from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-29.
  2. "Baltimore City Charter" (PDF). Baltimore City. 2008. pp. 77–78. Archived (PDF) from the original on 29 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-10.
  3. Fritze, John (2007-03-10). "City Officials May Get Raises ; Proposal Increases Pay For 17 Elected Offices By 18 To 26 Percent, Would Cost Taxpayers $189,000". The Sun. Baltimore, Maryland. p. 1B. ISSN 1930-8965. Retrieved 2008-10-10.
  4. Fritze, John (2007-03-23). "Council Votes To Accept Proposal For Pay Raises". The Sun. Baltimore, Maryland. p. 3B. ISSN 1930-8965. Retrieved 2008-10-10.
  5. "History of the Baltimore City Council". Baltimore City Council. Archived from the original on 18 August 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-29.
  6. Wiernik, Peter (1912). History of the Jews in America: From the Period of the Discovery of the New World to the Present Time. New York: Jewish Press Publishing Company. p. 127.
  7. "Guide to Government Records BRG16". Retrieved 2011-08-12.
  8. Middleton was appointed in 2007 and subsequently was elected to the position.
  9. Stokes was selected to fill the vacancy created when Councilman Young became president of the Council
  10. Young was voted by the Council to become council president when Stephanie Rawlings-Blake became Mayor of Baltimore
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