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Best Week, Worst Week: Loyola raises $100M; Baltimore official gone from Pugh administration. Again.

best-worst-051918Loyola University Maryland capped a seven-year fundraising campaign this week with great news, while the Pugh administration is dealing with the aftermath of yet another public official forced out under a shroud of controversy.

Business writer Tim Curtis reported Wedensday that Loyola University Maryland raised more than $100 million during a seven-year campaign, funding scholarships and growing the university’s endowment.

The campaign launched in December 2013 and grew the school’s endowment $54 million while increasing funding for 55 existing scholarships. Other funds raised have been earmarked to improve athletic facilities, strengthen academic programs, invest in the local community and support the mission and ministry of the Jesuit university.

Alumni Dan and Kelly Rizzo pledged $2 million for a renovation and expansion project of an existing school building. That expansion will house the university’s career center, to be named after the Rizzos.

Members of the school’s board of trustees also contributed through a $1.25 million challenge gift from the Maguire Foundation. The gift will endow the Maguire Scholars Program at Loyola.

Meanwhile, Catherine Pugh is now looking for Baltimore’s third police commissioner in 17 months on the job as the city’s mayor after seeing another member of her administration leave.

On Tuesday, police commissioner Darryl De Sousa resigned within days of being charged by federal prosecutors with failure to pay his taxes after just 116 days on the job, despite Pugh giving him a vote of confidence just days earlier. He replaced Kevin Davis in January, who was fired by Pugh for not sufficiently reducing the city’s growing crime problem. Now, Pugh says a national search has been started to find the city’s next commissioner.

In March, Darryl Strange, who took the job of press secretary in the Pugh administration, was forced to resign just hours after being introduced to the media when questions came up concerning three lawsuits surrounding his actions as a Baltimore police officer. Pugh said at the time the city’s vetting process takes time to complete for positions in a senior role and the investigation into Strange had not yet been completed when he was introduced to the media.

A third Pugh administration official, a deputy civil rights director, also resigned recently following background questions.

On Tuesday, City Solicitor Andre Davis promised more extensive vetting for high-level positions in the wake of so many issues. He said the Pugh administration is revamping background checks of top appointments, with a team of senior staff members to manage appointments and better document the vetting process.