PRESS ADVISORY Council of the District of Columbia

Office of Chairman Vincent C. Gray The John A. Wilson Building 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, D.C. 20004 For Immediate Release: Contact: Doxie A. McCoy 202- 724-8032, 202-664-9862

Fenty Declines to Provide Agency Heads to Testify on the District’s Serious Budget Problems Depriving the Public of Information They Deserve to Hear
Washington, DC -- Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray has scheduled a Committee of the Whole public oversight hearing tomorrow (Friday, February 19), at 10:00 AM, in the Council Chamber/Room 500 of the John A. Wilson Building, for the Executive to brief the Council and the public on the Mayor’s plan to address more than $200 million in fiscal year 2010 spending pressures the District of Columbia is facing. Ten days ago, Chairman Gray requested City Administrator Neil O. Albert to give an overview of the Mayor’s gap-closing plan, and more than a dozen agency directors to testify about the particular overspending issues under their purview. However, the Executive informed the Chairman this evening that Albert will be the only administration witness. As a result, Gray said the Mayor is standing in the way of the Council’s efforts to ensure an efficient and thorough discussion. “This is another sign of the continuing disrespect the Mayor has shown for the Council’s statutory duty to conduct oversight of such important matters as the District’s serious revenue problems,” Chairman Gray said. “I have great respect for Mr. Albert and his knowledge of the operations of the District of Columbia. However, it is unreasonable to assume that he will be able to deliver the substantive details of every single spending pressure within all of the affected agencies.” The Chairman and Council committee chairs were expecting to hear from several agency heads, including State Superintendent of Education Kerri L. Briggs, discussing increases in private school tuition and transportation for special education students; Fire Chief Dennis L. Rubin on fire and emergency services overtime; Joseph P. Walsh, Jr., Director of the Department of Employment Services, on higher unemployment compensation; and Dr. Julie Hudman, Director of the Department of Health Care Finance, on growing Medicaid costs. Council committee chairs with jurisdiction over particular areas of concern will serve as co-chairs of the pertinent segments of the hearing. Deputy CFO Gordon McDonald will testify on behalf of the Office of the Chief Financial Officer. The Council last week received a $99 million gap-closing plan from the Mayor. However, Gray described the plan as vague, and said it does not appear to solve the overspending problems. The Chairman said, “This is why a full complement of agency experts is needed to insure that Councilmembers and the public get a full understanding of what is driving the spending pressures and what remedies are needed. Unfortunately, I have serious doubts that will happen.” ###