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Should city solicitor be an elected office?


City Solicitor George A. Nilson

In the midst of debate earlier this week at a City Council committee hearing on whether the council should have its own legal counsel, another idea concerning the job of city solicitor was proposed.

“We may want to consider the solicitor’s office become an elected position,” said Councilman Warren Branch, an East Baltimore Democrat.

The city solicitor is appointed by the mayor to lead the Law Department, which represents and advises the city government. The solicitor also has a vote on the Board of Estimates, the city’s spending panel.

Branch also suggested replacing the city solicitor’s seat on the Board of Estimates so it “doesn’t look like he’s in the council’s pocket or mayor’s pocket.”

None of Branch’s colleagues commented on the idea. City Solicitor George A. Nilson, who appeared before the committee, only noted the state’s top legal position, attorney general, is also an elected position.

“I think that’s an issue for another day,” he said of Branch’s proposal.

Branch agreed.

But what do you think — should city residents elect the city solicitor?