Last month, Baltimore City Council President Nick Mosby was booked to stay four nights at a $539-a-night suite in Ocean City during the Maryland Association of Counties (MACo) convention.
Counting meals, transportation and incidentals, his outing cost taxpayers $3,008.
Last week, his chief of staff, Lawrence Rashad Anderson, traveled to England to attend a course on “the skills and qualities that lead to success of a chief of staff.”
Tomorrow the Board of Estimates, which Mosby chairs, will be asked to retroactively approve Anderson’s travel and course expenses, which amounted to $9,144.77, according to the board’s agenda.
Held at the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School, the program involved five days “of deep reflection, debate and discussion guided by contributions from leading academics and high-profile expert speakers,” according to Trent Smyth, CEO of the Chief of Staff Association, the New York group that sponsored the event.
Based on the association’s inaugural program last April, Anderson and 39 other CEOs were in Oxford to discuss such issues as “defining the role of chief of staff,” the “Five C’s for courageous communication” (they are listed as clarify, corroborate, context, conversation and confirm) and “Hourglass or Swiss Army Knife?”
The executive certificate program is designed to elevate a position long considered a glorified admin position into a bona fide professional occupation, according to Smyth.
Using the analogy of the Swiss Army Knife, the course asserted that COSs “are generalists with a wide variety of skills that can be applied in any situation.”
Controversy in Richmond
A Baltimore native and longtime friend of Mosby, Anderson was hired at $142,500 a year – or $20,000 more than its previous occupant, Michael G. Huber – after Mosby won the Council Council presidency in 2020.
He briefly served as chief of staff for the Richmond, Virginia, City Council, where he stirred controversy by approving $25,000 more than authorized to a consultant to review the Richmond Coliseum replacement plan.
Several Richmond council members objected to the inflated contract, one saying they were “flying blind,” but the contract was later affirmed by a 5-4 vote.
Before that, Anderson was a principal at Half/Acre Communications, a small public relations and political strategies firm. Through its District of Columbia address, Anderson recently contributed $100 to Marilyn Mosby, Baltimore state’s attorney and wife of Nick Mosby.
“Direct benefit to Baltimore”
In seeking approval of his aide’s travel costs, Mosby’s office told the BOE, “this is a direct benefit to the City of Baltimore. During his visit, he engaged in professional development directly related to the core responsibilities of the chief of staff role and its emerging challenges.”
Anderson did not respond to questions from The Brew about the trip.
According to online information, the $6,795 education fee covered his stay at the Marriott Courtyard at Oxford, plus three meals a day during the five-day program (see below).
Mosby’s office is seeking an additional $876, or $146 a day, to cover Anderson’s “incidentals, transfers and transportation fees.” The plane ticket cost $1,473.70.
Information submitted to the board indicates that he came to England at the beginning of the Labor Day weekend and left last Saturday, a day after the course ended.