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Gray: Fenty administration has overspent by $200 million

Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray (D) on Monday accused Mayor Adrian M. Fenty's (D) administration of overspending by $200 million, risking the city's ability to balance its budget.

Last week, Chief Financial Natwar Gandhi briefed council members on what Gray called the "very alarming fiscal condition of the city."

Gandhi's report shows the city has between $203 million and $223 million in "spending pressures" in the fiscal year 2010 budget. Some of the added costs relate to unforeseen expenses, such as $12 million in settlements, including the costs involving the Pershing Park mass arrest case. The District agreed to pay $8.25 million to almost 400 protesters and bystanders to end the lawsuit over the arrests in Pershing Park during World Bank protests in 2002.

But Gray, a potential challenger to Fenty in this year's Democratic primary for mayor, alleges the administration could have done a better job at controlling other expenses. The report notes, for example, the city spent $30 million more than budgeted to send public school students to specialized programs in private or neighboring public schools.

"The management end of this clearly falls on the executive," Gray said.

At Tuesday's council meeting, Gray and his colleagues plan to approve emergency legislation requiring Fenty to develop an immediate plan outlining how the administration plans to deal with the shortfall.

Combined with the effects of the continued sluggish economy, Gray said the city may be facing a $500 million in spending cuts when the council starts preparing the fiscal year 2011 budget this spring.

"I don't think we can afford to wait. Every day we wait, it gets tougher, "Gray said.

A Fenty spokeswoman was not immediately available to comment.

-- Tim Craig

By Anne Bartlett  |  February 1, 2010; 1:42 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. Council , Mayor Fenty , Tim Craig  
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I always knew Gray wasn't that smart, but he REALLY must be an idiot if he thinks the residents of DC are going to buy that one.

1. Educational Spending - DC can't spend enough, like national defense spending, this towns educational dollars are off limit for cutting. The mayor(s) never do it, the councils never do it, and its always one of those things the public "wants". You sound like a first class idiot for saying Fenty alone spent more than budgeted by sending the cities neediest kids to specialized schools to address their needs. You aren't going to get much campaign traction trying to claim that is a bad thing.

2. The mayor is one person, the Council is many and has overriding authority of the mayor. Anything Fenty is complicit in, you are too Gray, either complicity or through ignorance, neither make you look good. You choose which one you would rather have.

Posted by: Nosh1 | February 1, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

NOSH1 - as for the educational spending this is not presented clearly. this is not extra spending in the DCPS budget, this is an extra $20 to pay for DC Special Ed students to go to private schools outside of DCPS and DC charters.

The truth is teh executive branch is supposed to have a handle on city agency spending. The CFO's projection is literally from expenditure trands and plans developed at the agency levels. The Post is printing this because the controversial aspect, but it is Fenty's responsibility to handle this. Fenty has relied on reserves for teh past 3 years to cover his excesses.

Posted by: oknow1 | February 1, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Fenty give all the city's money to his friends so they can give back to his campaign! Do the math! Vote Gary 2010

Posted by: PRIDE-INC | February 1, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Is there anyway to see the budget?

Posted by: thelildiva4u | February 1, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

No, he relied on the CFO which has been completely wrong in his projections every year for the 8. Every year for 6 years we ran a surplus, and it was a "surprise" to Ghandi and every year sicne we have a deficit, it ends up being 2 or 3 times larger than he "projects".

I liken him to a weatherman...someone who can and usually is wrong day in and day out, yet still is able to keep their job.

Not to mention the fact that the largest theft of city money to ever happen, in any city, anywhere happened in his office, right under his nose for years. 49 Million dollars of the tax payers money went to prada bags and vacations, in his own office.

And if it is Fenty's responsibility to personally handle each and every little issue like this, and the Council isn't ever going to do anything about it, I have to ask what is the point of paying a 13 member Council $126,000 a year a piece (highest council salaries of any city n the US) if all they are going to do is sit there and approve by neglect, everything the mayor does, then blame him for it later?

The CFO is as much to blame for any fiscal shortfalls as anyone else in the city, the Council runs a close second.

Posted by: Nosh1 | February 1, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

But growing segments of the public are tired of Fenty's arrogance and petty behavior. Rhee is inextricably linked to Fenty, and Rhee is not popular. The bike motorcade. The tickets.

Gray doesn't have to win every argument in order to spread dissatisfaction with the current management....and current dissatisfaction is doing a nice job of spreading itself.

Posted by: jweaverbuckley | February 1, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Another reason not to sign his petitions to get his name on the ballot. Special Ed spending comes under Rhee and Victor Reinoso, the do nothing deputy mayor of education.(a total waste of salary) To think that Nickles actually wants a judge to back off special ed. DCPS should be audited! The waste and mismanagement is deeper than anyone knows.

Posted by: candycane1 | February 1, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Every budget year there are spending "pressures" -- it was true in the Williams, Kelly and Barry administations. The real question is how this administration addresses the issue.

DDOT and DPW are going to be slammed on the local funding side with the significant spending this year to due to Mother Nature's white stuff. The question for the administration is what do they do to make up the difference. Do they transfer money from another department/program area or does the alley paving projects get reduced to pay for it? Etc., etc.

You get the point...

Posted by: contrarian4 | February 1, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Why do we give all this money to people who don't budget properly?

It seems like they need to be able to explain something or be fired. For the next budget, they need to rate agency spending.

The parts of government that are in budget get rewarded. The Agencies that are not should be placed under strict scrutiny and have their budgets monitored closely [it can't be that hard to keep a close eye thanks to computers].

Posted by: rox77 | February 1, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

*Former Mayor Williams is somewhere eating a select cut of a 3" Porterhouse with A1 Sauce laughing hysterically as he reads this article*

Posted by: cbmuzik | February 1, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Just 200 million? Adrian Fenty is the most elitist brother I have ever encountered. He wants it so bad, that he is forgeting why he was elected to office. It's amazing that he lets everyone do the talking for him and pretends that "he knows nothing". As the election draws closer, Adrian will become more community minded; he'll start attending events with the least of us and create the illusion that he cares what happens. After the election, it will be Adrian as usual. Chair Gray, it's time.

Posted by: JUDGEWRIGHT1 | February 1, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

If he knew that the taxi meter was supposed to be set at $2.00 per mile like most cities, why would he set it at $1.50? Is it because he wants to keep money from flowing into the city?

Posted by: starclimber9 | February 1, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

please everyone. just vote fenty out!

Posted by: stayone | February 1, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Are you a failure? A weak law student? Looking for quick fame and fortune on the back of DC residents? Willing to scratch the backs of developers? Run for Mayor!! walk door to door and fist bump people and promise them the impossible. Then, when people are fed up, a twin (resume wise) will replace you. Welcome to DC everyone! remember, don't drink the water.

Posted by: FiatBooks | February 1, 2010 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Slow news cycle, VG is all talk.

Posted by: billthrice | February 2, 2010 5:56 AM | Report abuse

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