Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Council rejects Fenty's bid to extend summer jobs

In a 9 to 2 vote Tuesday, the D.C. Council rejected a plan by Mayor Adrian M. Fenty to extend a summer jobs program for seven days for about 20,000 youths, by diverting $4.3 million from a federal poverty program.

With the Sept. 14 primary election weeks away, several council members said they were put in the unenviable position of giving young people one more paycheck for the summer or providing from 135 to 250 families with housing for a year. Fenty's proposal again piled on criticism that he has repeatedly disregarded the council's budget authority and has mismanaged the summer jobs program.

Council member Phil Mendelson (D-At Large), who is running for reelection, called it "political theater" and said he expected the administration to characterize the council's vote as voting against youths. But he said the council had to stick with the budget. "He's coming here to try to get bailed out of fiscal irresponsibility," Mendelson said.

Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray (D), Fenty's chief rival in the mayoral primary who has been campaigning on his fiscal prudence, voted against the measure.

In May, the council approved the mayor's Summer Youth Employment Program at $22.7 million, but the final cost for the six-week program is estimated to be $29.8 million. Fenty had already shifted stimulus money from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program to make up the difference but requested more than $4 million in additional funds for an extension.

Council members Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4) and Harry Thomas Jr. (D-Ward 5) voted in favor of Fenty's proposal. Council members Marion Barry (D-Ward 8) and Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) were not present during the vote.

"As far as I'm concerned, summer employment is human services," Bowser said during debate before the vote.

But Council member Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6), chairman of the Committee on Human Services, said the city's homeless program had already suffered significant cuts last year, jeopardizing shelter for hypothermia and permanent housing for homeless families.

Noel Longmore, a 16-year-old working in the Office of Policy and Legislative Affairs, was tearful after the vote. "I'm very upset about it. It was a nice experience. I had a job to go to," said Longmore, lamenting that her last day will now be Friday. "It's kind of upsetting that we had to take money from that (poverty program). But some kids, like, help their moms pay their bills...I was going to get my school clothes. My mom could spend money on (other) stuff."

Earlier, Council member David A. Catania (I-At Large) tried to shift the blame on Chief Financial Officer Natwar M. Gandhi who he said knew about the cost overruns in May and failed to inform the council. He said if the mayor had not asked for the extension, "not one member would have been informed that we were over budget."

Council member Michael A. Brown (I-At Large), who heads the committee that oversees the summer jobs program, said the council's vote signaled its weariness of the mayor's management of the budget. "You can't just continue to blow through budgets with no consequences," he said.

By Nikita Stewart  |  August 3, 2010; 12:16 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. Council  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Vince Gray launches his first radio ad
Next: UPDATED: Council rejects GOP nominee to elections board

Comments

Thankfully, finally a commonsense vote out of the typically fiscally incompetant Council.

I just wish they would put this "pay DC kids not to rob anyone or get arrested for the summer" program out of business completely. Complete waste of money.

Posted by: Nosh1 | August 3, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Bowser is incompetent and is Fenty's puppet.

Ward 4 Voter...First lets oust Fenty (2010) and then Bowser (2012)!!!

Posted by: DCJUSTICE | August 3, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

get real Fenty keeping them in summer works and gonna stop those kids from robbing and killin people

Posted by: JeroRobson1 | August 3, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Nosh: I totally agree with you. This program is exactly that: to keep kids off the streets and keep crime down during the summer. If they got out and hustled their butts and filled out job applications like every other kid in America, they'd learn at an early age that no one is going to give them a job and what they get out of life is what they put into it.

I'm all for kids and doing what we can for them but using taxpayer money to fund a jobs program is ridiculous.

They could spend the rest of the summer in the new public libraries going to the DCPS website which has plenty of links for them to brush up on their academic skills that they've lost over the summer so they'll be ready for school at the end of August. It doesn't pay but it sure would be productive.

Posted by: UrbanDweller | August 3, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

If the Fenty Administration would stop over paying contracts to his fraternity brothers and other acts of fraud with regards to some Architectural contracts and other consulting contracts. The District would probably have enough to continue the program.

Posted by: diahhna | August 3, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Glad to hear it. I remember being a part of this program when I was growing up. I didn't learn much...

But that doesn't mean a program like this can't be useful. Instead of placing the kids in certain areas, when someone applies they are given a list of open positions, they go on interviews and someone is hired. For those who are not hired there should be a training academy/trade school type of system set up to prepare them for getting jobs on their own in the future.

No one is owed a job. You have to earn them. Actually giving these kids the tools to compete in the real world would do more good. Just handing them everything without having to work or go through a process handicaps them even more when they apply for real jobs.

Posted by: Redial1 | August 3, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Bowser did what she was told to do. She hasn't smelled the coffee yet. The same ward 4 that is going to show Fenty on Aug 4th that it's over, is going to turn out the same way for her as well.

Posted by: candycane1 | August 3, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Nosh: I totally agree with you. This program is exactly that: to keep kids off the streets and keep crime down during the summer. If they got out and hustled their butts and filled out job applications like every other kid in America, they'd learn at an early age that no one is going to give them a job and what they get out of life is what they put into it.

I'm all for kids and doing what we can for them but using taxpayer money to fund a jobs program is ridiculous.

They could spend the rest of the summer in the new public libraries going to the DCPS website which has plenty of links for them to brush up on their academic skills that they've lost over the summer so they'll be ready for school at the end of August. It doesn't pay but it sure would be productive.
===

Hmph! An urban dweller who doesn't understand urban environments. Do you think that there are 18k jobs out there for students in the area? Well that's how many students the program aids.

The idea is that businesses will agree to hire them during the summer months in support of DC's summer job initiative. However, your solution is that they go to the library and fill out job applications. Have any idea which libraries in DC are equipped to host 18k kids looking for jobs?

There's also a program that aids pre-k kids, it's called Head Start. Based on your logic, I assume that we shoul ddefund that as well?

Posted by: dcis1 | August 3, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

My famous quote "Failing to pay attention, is the most expensive bill you could ever neglect to pay!"

I told them this would happen and proved it would happen in this video and those who paid attention, knew about it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSP8tjdiN00

Posted by: jobforce | August 3, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

I have witnessed these kids sitting idle for hours at a District government office recently. No,they are not on the street, but they are not learning and experiencing either. Finally the council has had the guts to say no.

Posted by: TalkingBack | August 3, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

My famous quote "Failing to pay attention, is the most expensive bill you could ever neglect to pay!"

I told them this would happen and proved it would happen in this video and those who paid attention, knew about it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSP8tjdiN00

Why don't they listen? Trust, but verify!
I'm sick of testimony implying the exact figures are unknown! Use this formula and adjust where necessary. # of kids, times amt of weekly pay, times # of weeks in SYEP program = AMOUNT SPENT!

For example:
21,000 x $145/wk x 6 weeks = $18,270,000

Is basic math an impossibility in the running of a multi-million dollar job training program when you're spending voters money? Guess they tried, but "....couldn't make it work!" Please don't BS us. We're all smarter than that.

We can do better.

Posted by: jobforce | August 3, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse


Most of the kids aren't even out of high school and already on the government dole.

Congratulations!

Posted by: kenk3 | August 3, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

An earlier poster mentioned the DC Library system.
The public library system employs teens year round. They have to apply for the job and be interviewed prior to selection and hiring.

Posted by: eabgarnet | August 3, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Jobforce: you're leaving out the payments to the "employers". Each year a certain amount is authorized to bribe employers to let kids not-work for them. When enough employers hold out, Fenty staff unilaterally increase the bribes -- no consultation with the council, no offsets in the budget. So these programs are over budget before they even start; nothing "basic" about that.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | August 3, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Jobs and skill development for young adults or shelter for the homeless is a false choice. There are other pet projects that could have been tapped for both critical needs. As a young man I benefit from City funded Summer Jobs and it really gave me a leg up on life. An appeal for federal funding, private donations, 1% paycuts, etc., are better choices to insure both jobs and housing for those most in need.

Posted by: Airborne82 | August 3, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

That's why budgets are created, to spend what you can afford. The council did the right thing. See you tomorrow Ward 4!!!!

Posted by: candycane1 | August 3, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Gray will totally ignore Ward 4. All he is is a bunch of empty promises. If he's so fiscally responsible, how is he going to pay for all of his promises? Don't vote for a fool just because you don't like the Mayor.

Posted by: nmoses | August 3, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

As an African American woman I was a recipient of a similar program as a teenager in the 70s and have fond memories. I worked in various places during the summers (the library at the local college was one) and made it my business to learn as much as possible because I was determined I would make something of myself. Well, I have and mentor young people all the time.

When I worked years ago I noticed then that so many of the staff the teens were assigned to just didn't care. I suppose their thoughts were the kids would only be there for x-period of time and they would never see them again so why bother taking them under their wing and trying to make a difference. I suspect a lot of these young people are dealing with the same.

While these young people do not necessarily come from the best neighborhoods, it doesn't mean all of them are lazy, uneducated, incompetent, ignorant and violent.

I grew up dirt poor in a low income neighborhood, but I wasn't any of those things. I truly believe a lot of them really want to make something of themselves. However, in order for them to do so they need someone to give a darn about them and be willing to make a concerted effort to assist.

Posted by: gladiatorgal | August 3, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

I think the summer jobs program is one of the best things the city government does for kids. It should not be allowed to go over budget and none of these kids should expect to get rich from the program. It is needed not just to keep kids from robbing people--most kids would never think of doing these things--it helps kids experience a different aspect of life that many would not see until they became adults. When the private sector starts hiring 18K inner city teens each summer, we can think about doing away with this program. The people who tarnish all of these kids as thugs and robbers are the same ones who do not hire these kids and then complain about them "not gettng off their butts and applying for a job." Bigots!

Posted by: PepperDr | August 3, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Let's look at the options:
1. give young people one more paycheck for the summer.
2. provide from 135 to 250 families with housing for a year.

Well duhh.

Posted by: Jimof1913 | August 3, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

When I lived in L.A., the niece of Sen. Ribicoff (sp?) was shot to death in Venice after refusing to hand over her wallet. (Or so the story went.)

A community "leader" in Venice told me that the killer's government-funded gig had ended, so naturally he'd gone into the street looking for cash.

I got out of that room as fast as I could.

I grew up in Bethesda. My father, who used to work at OMB, told me to always carry cash to give to a mugger.

Get thee to an ATM now, sleepwalkers.

Posted by: peartree | August 3, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

As a real summer jobs program, they should lower the minimum wage in DC so that kids could be paid for the value that they can provide.

Posted by: staticvars | August 3, 2010 10:38 PM | Report abuse

What?! No more free ghetto cash in the District's ill-conceived thug prevention program?

Didn't Council member Barry get his way?

Posted by: RealityCheckerInEffect | August 3, 2010 11:20 PM | Report abuse

Mayor Fenty needs to stop giving lucrative government contracts to his Kappa Alpha Psi (Nupes) frat brothers; then he'll have the money to go to more worthwhile programs.

Regardless of WaPo's endorsement, Fenty is one and done come September 14th.

Posted by: meldupree | August 3, 2010 11:43 PM | Report abuse

@peartree, you really need to check facts (and your logic) before making a post. Ms. Ribicoff wasn't carrying a purse but didn't resist/fight the muggers and yet she was murdered. And yes, it was more than one person who attacked her.

Also, the individuals who shot/killed Ribicoff's niece have been variously described as either out of work day laborers or members of the Crips. You pick which one you believe. Again, check your facts and your logic.

As for the program mentioned in the news, it comes down to a question of priorities and budget for the remaining year. If it has to be a choice between sacrificing one additional paycheck for school-age teenagers or ensuring there is money in the budget to assist homeless families, there really is no choice. Is the program a waste of money? If managed appropriately with established procedures/guidelines ensuring teenagers have a true hands on learning experience, than no. If they simply show up, collect a paycheck, learn nothing, and develop no skills, than sadly yes it is a waste of taxpayers money. Such programs benefit no one in the long run.

Bottom line: it was a tough decision brought about poor management of a program with an established budget. No one wins.

Posted by: devilsadvocate3 | August 4, 2010 7:15 AM | Report abuse

@PepperDr-

I agree completely. The summer jobs program is one of Fenty's many accomplishments. It is a good program and help get kids life skills that they need.

I do agree that the budget should be stuck to.

Posted by: choclatecity | August 4, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Liberals proving that liberals should never be allowed to govern. We now have 12 year olds already well trained in the art of living off of the system. Great job DEMS/Fenty. 2012 is a new day. END ALL SOCIAL WELFARE PROGRAMS. Stand on your own two feet or die. It's that simple....

Posted by: askgees | August 4, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

How do you miscount the cost of a summer jobs program? cost = hourly rate * hours/person * no of people.

Someone needs a remedial math class.

Posted by: truthbeknown | August 4, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company