Andrew Clemmons, the city of Baltimore's inspector general, is packing his desk on a Friday afternoon. "I'm out of here, man," he says without rancor.A government watchdog agency ostensibly independent from politics, the office of inspector general was created by then-Mayor Martin O'Malley about 18 months ago. He hired Clemmons, a retired postal inspector, and made him an at-will employee. Meaning, essentially, that it's a patronage job."That's the way it works in the political arena, and I knew that coming in," Clemmons says.Clemmons set up the office, wrote a "policy and procedure manual," and set up a computerized case tracking system. The I.G. reports were posted on a web site. So far there are only two--the annual report of the inspector general and "Time and attendance controls at the Eastern Chest Clinic." But the office has been working on some potentially beefy investigations, including one of the I Can homeless shelters ("Helter Shelter," Jan. 10), and an inquiry into the city housing department prompted by City Paper's series on building collapses."We are working on the final touches of a preliminary report" on building inspections, Clemmons says. "I'm hoping that [inspector Alan] Stubbs will still get it out."The fate of that investigation is now uncertain. Clemmons' three inspectors are upset about his dismissal--they came to work for him, not some guy they don't know--and were deciding whether to quit or stay on, sources in the inspector general's office say.Clemmons says he hopes his replacement will pick up where he's leaving off, and that future I.G.s will have an employment contract that makes them independent from the mayor. "We were here because we wanted to be here," Clemmons says. "I was totally independent. I didn't know anybody in this city, and I thought that was a good thing. Maybe the next person will be like that, too."The next person is Hilton Green, says Anthony McCarthy, Mayor Sheila Dixon's spokesman.Since 2001, Green has served as the I.G. of the Housing Authority of Baltimore City. He was deputy inspector general at the Chicago Housing Authority before that, and prior to that he was a supervisory agent at the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development's Office of Inspector General, which is independent of HUD. Green ran the HUD O.I.G.'s special investigations division, McCarthy says.Asked if Green would be given an employment contract extending beyond Dixon's mayoral term (which ends next November), McCarthy says that's "doubtful."
Edward Ericson Jr.