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by Mark Reutter7:49 pmMar 12, 20240

Scott reaches back, grasping an old hand to lead Baltimore’s DPW

Khalil Zaied is tapped to run a troubled department, though his tenure here was at times troubled

Above: Khalil Zaied poses in 2012 with former Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake at the National Katyn Memorial at Harbor East. (Mark Dennis)

Khalil A. Zaied, a jack of many trades, was today named Baltimore’s director of Public Works, an agency with many problems.

Last seen as a deputy mayor under Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Zaied will return to city government after a brief stint as public works director for Champaign, Illinois, a city one-sixth of Baltimore’s size.

Prior to that, he was a vice president of KCI Technologies, helping supervise Baltimore’s big conduit dig under Greenmount Avenue, and as a manager for El Paso, Texas.

In February, he resigned from the Champaign job, citing “private family matters” that required him to move out-of-state, according to a local media report. Next Monday he will start at DPW, one of the few agencies he didn’t serve during his two decades in Baltimore government.

During the administrations of Martin O’Malley, Sheila Dixon and Rawlings-Blake, Zaied was director of school facilities planning, director of general services, director of transportation and deputy mayor for operations.

Mayor Brandon Scott today praised his selection of Zaied.

As DPW “enters a new era” with the resumption of recycling and other programs, “now is a perfect time to welcome a tested and transformational leader like Khalil Zaied to take the department to new heights,” Scott declared.

UPDATE: Zaied will be paid $245,000/yr. as Baltimore’s DPW director, up from his $185,000 salary in Champaign.

No Stranger to Headlines

Zaied was not without controversy during his tenure here.

As DOT director, he supervised the city’s speed camera program that issued tens of thousands of dollars of erroneous speeding tickets.

He was faulted by the inspector general for failing to implement improvements in payroll processing that resulted in overtime fraud, while federal prosecutors went after his chief of the Circulator bus system, who admitted selling surplus bus shelters for $70,000.

Zaied also applied for and received more than $14,000 in homestead property tax breaks on a Butchers Hill rental property he owned. The credit should only have been available to owner-occupied homes.

“It is an honor of a lifetime to return to the city I love”  – Khalil Zaied.

“Like Mayor Scott, I am committed to building cleaner, healthier communities and utilizing every tool at the city’s disposal to reduce waste, improve air and water quality and provide Baltimoreans with dependable routine services,” Zaied said in the press release. “It is an honor of a lifetime to return to the city I love.”

Zaied will be acting director of DPW until he is confirmed by the City Council.

He’ll serve on the Board of Estimates as a Scott appointee, replacing Richard Luna, who will return to his position as DPW’s deputy director.

Khalil Zaied at Commercial Utilities' piping out celebration in June 2021. (YouTube)

Khalil Zaied looks over the construction of the conduit line under Greenmount Avenue as vice president of KCI Technologies in 2021. (YouTube)

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