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Council Bypasses Fenty on PERB Board

The D.C. Council voted today to veto Mayor Adrian M. Fenty's nominees for the Public Employee Relations Board. The council then enacted emergency legislation to allow the five-member board to operate with a quorum of one because of longstanding vacancies.

The Council enacted the legislation even though Fenty, according to Council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) had promised to nominate four new board members by Friday.

But a backlog of cases before the board and growing tension between the Council and mayor prompted a lengthy discussion today.

After the mayor's nominees were rejected because of allegations of inexperience, Council member Harry Thomas Jr. (D-Ward 5) introduced his bill to allow the board to operate with only one member. The only current member of the board is a labor representative.

"There are people who need us to stand up for them," said Thomas, noting the board mediates labor disputes between the city and its employees.

Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray (D) got behind Thomas's proposal, which was the focus of a Washington Post editorial this morning.

Gray said Fenty is responsible for not appointing qualified nominees in a timely fashion.

"I think we have reached the point where action needs to be taken by this body," Gray said.

The bill needed 9 votes to be approved as emergency legislation. During the debate, it appeared as if the bill was set to fail after Council member Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) made a motion to delay action on it for 10 days to give Fenty time to submit new nominees. His amendment was rejected on a voice vote.

When a final vote was taken a few minutes later, Wells joined eight of his colleagues in supporting the legislation.

Evans and Council members David Catania (I-At large), Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) and Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4) voted against Thomas's bill.

"I am going to take the mayor at his word that he immediately intends to submit names." Catania said.

Council member Kwame Brown (D-At large) said today's vote was designed to "send a message" to Fenty.

--Tim Craig

By Tim Craig  |  April 21, 2009; 12:49 PM ET
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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Comments

Excellent job DC City Council.....

Posted by: winston61 | April 21, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Even though a "quorum of one" is a potential disaster, it's good to see the DC Council continue to press Fenty on his self-serving agenda. Hopefully, this issue will be resolved and qualified candidates will be appointed soon.

Posted by: philip_s | April 21, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

The bill needed 9 votes to be approved as emergency legislation. During the debate, it appeared as if the bill was set to fail after Council member Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) made a motion to delay action on it for 10 days to give Fenty time to submit new nominees. His amendment was rejected on a voice vote.
_______________________________________

Tommy Wells is sadly my ward councilman. He is swine and lacks the testicular tenacity to stand up on the side of right if on the side of wrong is the Mayor.

He needs to go!!! He is bad for Ward 6, bad for D.C.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | April 21, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

It's about time!!! Great job city council.

Posted by: conbess928 | April 22, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

No surprise that Bowser would vote against the bill, considering at least one of the nominees is a frequent companion and her campaign henchman.

Thankfully the majority did the right thing.

Posted by: logosdesigns | April 22, 2009 5:54 PM | Report abuse

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