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Barry proposes removing Santos from Housing Authority board

D.C. Council member Marion Barry (D-Ward 8) has proposed emergency legislation that would remove Valerie Santos, deputy mayor for Planning and Economic Development, from the board of commissioners of the D.C. Housing Authority.

By law, the deputy mayor serves as an ex-officio member, but Barry said in an earlier interview that there are too many members on the board representing the interests of the mayor.

The council is holding hearings on the controversial transfer of funds to the housing authority, which awarded contracts to firms with ties to Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D).

Under Barry's emergency legislation, a resident would replace the deputy mayor's slot on the board.

Last month, Fenty quietly removed Bill Slover Jr. as chairman of the board and replaced him with Larubi May.

"It's the mayor's prerogative," said Dena Michaelson, a Housing Authority spokeswoman.

Slover, however, remains on the board, just not as chairman.

-- Nikita Stewart

By Washington Post Editors  |  December 9, 2009; 12:56 PM ET
Categories:  City Life , D.C. Council , D.C. Employees , Marion Barry , Mayor Fenty , Nikita Stewart  
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I'm typically not one to agree with something suggested by former Mayor-for-Life Marion Barry but I think he's on to something here. I watched Valerie Santos' performance during the joint committee hearing about the use of parks and recreation funds by the housing authority. She was evasive and unknowledgeable about subjects she should have been able to testify about. She and her predecessor, Neil Albert, should both be removed from the DC government. Unfortunately, Mayor Fenty has actually promoted Mr. Albert to city administrator.

Posted by: DCResident22 | December 9, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Thats the pot calling the kettle!!! those who do not know, this is how politics are done. one hand washes the other. Regardless of who the mayor is, somebody with his interests in mind are holding key positions, getting those lucurative contracts etc.... Barry should know... now he wants to "do right".... child please!

Posted by: rvanags | December 9, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

The idea that Barry is wrong for wanting to level the board to further the interest of District residents over politicians because "that is how politics are done" is asinine. It is also irrelevant if he did the same thing when he was in office. The fact is IT IS WRONG to use public funds to further the personal interests of politicians as opposed to the citizens who provides those tax dollars. If the public's interest is not present on the Housing Authority Board which lately has been used as a vessel to dole out city funded projects outside of legislative oversight, then there rightly should be a citizen voice on that board.

Valarie Santos leaves alot to be desired when it comes to subject matter competence. I watched the hearings on these contract giveaways and she appears to be purposefully evasive, however, I simply think that she just doesn't know what she is talking about, so she dances around questions rather than saying that she doesn't know.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | December 10, 2009 6:07 AM | Report abuse

I watched the first hearing where Santos was smug, evasive and dancing around the issues. All coucilmembers had problems getting her to answer the questions. At the end of that hearing and after all councilmembers present were clearly frustrated, I was glad to hear Barry just simply tell her of her disrespect, and her poor performance as a Deputy mayor. He went straight to the point when he told her that if she was that absent-minded then maybe the job was too much for her. That changed her expression right away. He also told her to look at the taped session to see for herself how badly she performed.

At the second hearing, she appeared to be less smug, although she was reminded by several that she was being disrespectful with her texting while at the table and her seemingly inablility to pay attention. If what I saw on live TV twice is any indication of her ability, it's hard to believe that she got the job based on experience and knowledge.

Posted by: candycane1 | December 10, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

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