The classic characteristic of the "Alford plea" is that it's done to avoid some mandatory sentence or sentence element associated with conviction of the crime(s). In the original case, defendant Alford would have been exposed to a mandatory death penalty for a murder conviction. In this case, it apparently was to preserve her right to receive her pension.
The plea is akin to the nolo contendere
plea we learned about when another famous Marylander, Nixon VP Spiro T. Agnew, pleaded to tax charges in 1973. It isn't an admission of guilt, rather only a concession that there is evidence sufficient to establish the prosecution's case.
It should be noted that such pleas are done by agreement with the prosecutor, in the absence of which they usually aren't accepted. In this case,
State Prosecutor Robert A. Rohrbaugh, who led a lengthy investigation into City Hall corruption, said, "I think it was time for this case to end."
"I thought it was important that the mayor resign so that this city can move forward and have a new mayor that hasn't been tainted with corruption," he said. "That was an important consideration on our part."
So it looks like the prosecution got their resignation and the Mayor's waiver of all appeal rights, while Ms Dixon, if she completes her probation, eventually will be eligible to receive the pension she accumulated in 20 yrs of pubic service.