Elaine Bridgman likes to think that she is good at selling things. During the state's 350th anniversary year, she sold Maryland. And three months ago, when she was hired as Baltimore's director of promotion and tourism, her mission was to sell the city.
But she stumbled, it became clear here last week, when it came to selling herself.
City Solicitor Benjamin L. Brown said Thursday that his office had determined that she did not have the bachelor's degree required for the job in promotions.
That day, Bridgman, 40, who had said that the whole affair was rooted in misunderstanding, resigned from the $48,480-a-year post.
Brown said that Bridgman, a native of Folkestone, England, graduated from South East Kent Technical College with a Royal Society of Arts certification, not from London University at Kent College, as stated in the first press release about her appointment. The degree she holds, he said, is equivalent to an associate's degree in the United States, or two years of college.
The position for which Bridgman was hired requires a bachelor's degree or equivalent experience.
Bridgman maintained in an interview late last week that the press reports about her qualifications were blown far out of proportion.
"I did do some puffery," she said. "I did sell myself. That's what I do for a living. In hindsight, I would have been much more careful about that, much more precise."
Bridgman never talked to Mayor William Donald Schaefer about the city solicitor's findings, and she said that it was not until Brown presented her with an extremely narrow set of options on Thursday morning that she knew she would have to quit.
Brown said that neither he nor the mayor specifically asked for Bridgman's resignation. The three-member search committee that selected Bridgman from a list of six finalists did not check into Bridgman's claims of experience and education, he said.
Phyllis Brotman, president of the Baltimore-based Image Dynamics advertising firm and a member of the panel that selected Bridgman, said her committee had no reason to disbelieve Bridgman. "We were not charged with being an investigative team," she said last week.