Marking the first high-level departure in Brandon Scott’s young administration, Tisha S. Edwards is stepping down as executive director of the Mayor’s Office of Children & Family Success.
She will leave her $220,000-a-year position to work for longtime friend Wes Moore, the best-selling author and non-profit executive who announced in June he’s running for Maryland governor as a Democrat.
Reached this morning, Edwards said she is “not at liberty to discuss any personnel matters with reporters” and referred all questions to the mayor’s office.
The mayor’s office confirmed her departure, issuing this statement to The Brew:
“Director Edwards has informed the administration she has accepted another opportunity. The administration thanks her for her service to Baltimore City government.”
UPDATE Nov. 9, 2021: Edwards officially became chief of staff of the Moore campaign, an unusual position for a political team that already includes a campaign manager, campaign pollster, two senior advisors, a digital fundraiser, a communications director and a prominent Washington, D.C., media shop, according to Maryland Matters.
A former acting CEO of Baltimore City Schools and a onetime chief of staff for Mayor Catherine Pugh, Edwards was brought back to City Hall in mid-2019 to head the Family Success office created by former Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young.
Edwards quickly gathered an array of children services, homeless and Covid-related programs under her command, becoming one of the better known and paid city officials.
Currently, her office manages more than $35 million in federal and state grants for Head Start programs, food and rental assistance, homelessness aid, and other payments processed through Baltimore Community Action Partnership (CAP) centers.
Earlier this month, the Board of Estimates accepted $47.4 million in state and federal grants – directed to Edwards’ office via CAP – for eviction prevention, rental assistance and other services for city residents suffering unemployment and other setbacks “directly or indirectly due to Covid-19.”
Her tenure was met with criticism in some circles because of the many hires she made during a period of fiscal austerity, including naming Lea Ferguson, wife of Maryland Senate President Bill Ferguson (D., 46th), as chief of policy and partnerships.
Edwards also has continued to operate a private consulting business, Visionary Solutions, LLC, according to her latest ethics disclosure statement.
In recent months, Edwards has expressed frustration that she had to report to other members of Scott’s executive team and complained that she was not “appreciated” for her hard work, multiple sources tell The Brew.
After her brief tenure as Pugh’s chief of staff in 2017, Edwards was named president of BridgeEDU, an organization that Wes Moore founded to help minority students transition from high school to college.
She has also served as executive vice president of the JS Plank and DM DiCarlo Family Foundation, established by developer Scott Plank, brother of Under Armour founder Kevin Plank.