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Fenty vetoes legislation allowing UDC board to operate without quorum

Washington Post Editors

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty has blocked legislation allowing the University of the District of Columbia's board of trustees to operate with a reduced quorum, setting up a direct challenge with his chief rival in the mayor's race, D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray.

Fenty (D) and Gray are squabbling over appointments to the 15-member board, leaving only eight members on the panel that governs the university. Currently, if one member is absent the board lacks the quorum required to operate.

In June, Gray (D) and the council approved emergency legislation allowing the board to operate with only four voting members present.

But Fenty, who says the council has been to slow to act on his nominees to the panel, used a pocket veto earlier this month to derail the legislation. When the council is on recess, emergency legislation dies if the mayor fails to sign it.

In recent months, Fenty and Gray have been locked in an intense struggle over the composition of the board. Despite repeated efforts to broker a compromise, Gray has challenged the qualifications of Fenty's nominees.

"The concern to me is having people who are capable and competent to fill those positions," Gray said at a debate sponsored by TBD, formerly NewsChannel 8. "Again not to be glib about this but I think we need people with influence and affluence on that board and we haven't had nominees in my opinion from the mayor who fit those criteria.''

Fenty, who will be at UDC today for the opening of the temporary Wilson High School in a university building, countered he has put "qualified people" before the council.

"If the council would have voted them down I would have accepted it because that's their role," Fenty said. "My problem is that on most of the occasions they haven't even gotten a vote at either the committee level or the full council. As mayor I believe my nominees deserve an up or down vote."

Since becoming chairman in 2007, Gray has steered millions of dollars to the university, and university officials appear to line up behind the chairman in the debate over appointments to the board.

At a groundbreaking three weeks ago for a new plaza at the university, UDC President Allen L. Sessoms told students and faculty members that "I can't say enough about the council's and Vincent Gray's leadership" in support of the university.

"It's a statement of fact and folks just have to deal with it," Sessoms said.

When the council returns from summer recess next month, Gray is expected to re-introduce his legislation. If it is approved as permanent legislation, council will be able to override a Fenty veto with nine votes.

"Our board of trustees is doing the best it can under what are very trying circumstances," said UDC spokesman Allen Etter.

--Tim Craig

By Tim Craig  |  August 20, 2010; 12:35 PM ET
Categories:  2010 District Election , Mayor Fenty , Vincent C. Gray  
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And, once again... "WAAAH!" cries Mayor Skippy. "I don't like the way you're playing; you don't let me win! So I'm gonna take my ball and go home. So there!"

Alas, the results of these repeated temper tantrums are much more consequential than the interruption of kids' games on a playground. The governance and functioning of the District are at stake.

We deserve to have an adult serving as our Mayor.

Posted by: nan_lynn | August 20, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse long did the whole "inclusive" gov't spell last....I'm a changed man....results are non-negotiable.. maybe 48 hours?

See this is indicative of the Gestapo Fenty administration. Instead of allowing UDC to move forward with school business he’s pulling the same stunts as usual. This style has been played out on many other boards where he hinders the process because the council didn’t give a pass to his unqualified nominations. Or he removes members who don’t YES SIR MASER FENTY him….wink to Allen L. Sessoms. Trust me your comments regarding your support for Mr. Gray have been duly noted by Gestapo’s henchmen.

Examples of Fenty's (non-qualified) nominations to influential boards that affect all D.C. citizens directly:
PERB Board
Utilities Commissions
Board of Elections

How many pocket veto’s is that so far?

Posted by: thelildiva4u | August 20, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Fenty's style of governing is on display once again!

Do the citizens believe that the next 4 years would be different under this administration. We know that leopards can't change their spots so should we be lured by his admission of mistakes and learning from them?

Fenty's strategy to freeze Gray's service in the 90s when the District was facing huge deficits and the specter of a fallen and popular mayor. With Congress breathing down our necks. We are in 2010 and the failure to examine Mr. Grays record fully by the Washington Post and the Fenty campaign could very well cost them the election.

Fenty's style of governing will continue no matter who is the council chairman (Kwame) he will face the same dysfunction between the Executive and Legislative Branch and the people will suffer.

The ends don't justify the means. One can point to all their accomplisments in the road ahead only to look back to find all the blood and dead bodies strewn behind.

At the Ward 4 Democractic Straw Poll one reporter asked Fenty "What happened to you as a person"? to which the mayor largely ignored. Whatever happened to him in 3 years won't go awary by giving him 4 more.

The Mayor consistently finds the outer edges of the law and aims directly for it. The problem is our shots are not always accurate!

Posted by: dcchamp1 | August 20, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Great observation. Adrian Fenty's "I've made mistakes" speech didn't last a week. He is back to his insanely childish ways.

He uses appointment to critical boards and District contracts as political treasure to be distributed to his friends and cronies; more often than not, unqualified.

We have got to end this madness once and for all.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | August 20, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

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