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CFO Fires Contract Chief

District Chief Financial Officer Natwar Gandhi fired his contracting chief today, three weeks after the D.C. Council refused to approve a new $120 million lottery contract put forward by Gandhi's office.

Eric W. Payne had been running contracts for the agencies that Gandhi oversees since 2005. He was heavily involved in the controversy last year involving a recommendation to switch the lottery management contract from Lottery Technology Enterprises to W2l. LTE has held the contract since the lottery was created. Both firms are partnerships between international lottery operators and local firms.

Payne said that the existing contractor was performing badly and costing the District money.

Critics of the proposed contract with W2I said the firm was tied to Mayor Adrian M. Fenty through fraternity and friendship.

The council voted 8-3 last month to seek new bids rather than approve the contract supported by Gandhi and Fenty, who put it forth repeatedly over the year.

Gandhi spokesman David Umansky said yesterday he would not comment on personnel matters, but added that Payne's departure would not hinder efforts to re-compete the contract. He said existing contracting staff would carry on the work.

"I am surprised and disappointed by their actions," Payne said this afternoon. He is reviewing his options, he said.

Dan Keating

By Marcia Davis  |  January 9, 2009; 5:23 PM ET
Categories:  City Finances  
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Comments

If Gandhi fired the guy for the lottery mess, isnt it appropriate for Gandhi to resign for the tax refund scandal?

Posted by: mikey999 | January 10, 2009 7:58 AM | Report abuse

Natwar Gandhi has it wrong again. In all of the stories I have read, I have not once seen that Eric Payne did anything wrong. In fact, his work on this project was upheld by an administrative law body. If folks didnt like the contract that was proposed, then they should have killed the contract without killing the messenger. For Natwar Gandhi to fire Payne, when he allowed the tax scam to fester under his watch is laughable at worst and hypocritical at best. Where is the leadership from the Mayor's office? The Attorney General? People get fired in the current DC government model for doing a poor job (Child and Family Services and Department of Employment Services Directors). Now we can add a competent person doing his job to the list of the banished from DC government. As a citizen of the District, this is why I am convinced we will always be second rate because the government cant get out of its own way and the citizens are too weak to hold government accountable. Makes no sense that a guy like Payne gets shown the door.

Posted by: jasonwebsterr | January 10, 2009 11:26 PM | Report abuse

Where was Eric Payne's performance deficit and why was he fired??? If they couldn't get this new contract approved it wasn't because of Mr. Payne, the truth is that the current lottery contract holder was politically well connected in DC and protested the loss of this contract in spite of being warned over and over about problems with their operation in the past. They should not even be allowed to bid on the new contract because of their past performance (or allowed to reorganize under another name to disguise themselves and then bid again on this contract). But in any event, Eric Payne shouldn't be the fall guy in this one Mr. Ghandi and Mayor Fenty. You need to reinstate Mr. Payne right away.

Posted by: hotezzy | January 11, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

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