Fenty Finds Another Way to Rile DC Council

CFO was told to leave -- until Fenty stepped in

By Asha Beh
|  Sunday, Oct 25, 2009  |  Updated 4:01 PM EDT
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Fenty Finds Another Way to Rile DC Council

NBCWashington

Mayor Adrian Fenty in the hot seat.

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It could almost be a story made for NBC's "Parks and Recreation."

Interim director of Parks and Recreation Department gets booted from her job. Mayor steps in and says she will stay. Council members protest, accusing mayor of ignoring them. Barbs and accusations fly.

OK. Maybe not quite.

DC Mayor Adrian M. Fenty's re-appointment of Ximena Hartsock, who was rejected by a majority of the D.C. Council, does carry a certain amount of dramedy, though. If only for the fact that he did it a day after everyone found out that $82 million in contracts were illegally awarded to build parks, ballfields and recreation centers -- without council approval -- and that most of the contracts went to people or firms with ties to Fenty.

"It's almost becoming a lawless administration," Ward 3 Councilmember Mary M. Cheh told the Washington Post. "They seem to have no limits or restraint on what they are willing to do."

DC Attorney General Peter Nickles, speaking for the administration, then said that Cheh "has no idea what she's talking about."

"She's an angry woman," he commented.

As the Post noted, the controversy comes in a year in which Fenty and the council have squabbled over who gets baseball tickets, appointments to boards and commissions, and whether administration officials have to abide by council subpoenas.

Fenty's executive order could keep Hartsock, a former elementary school principal and the first appointment by Fenty that the council has rejected, in as head of the Department of Parks and Recreation until next April. But Nickles told WTOP that he expects "a new director will be named sooner than that."

As for the illegally awarded contracts, the Council might get a chance to reject some of those too, which could cause more trouble, especially as most of the projects are already underway.

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