Council Panel Votes to Disapprove Peter Nickles

From the Washington City Paper blog City Desk

A D.C. Council committee has voted to disapprove Peter J. Nickles‘ nomination as the District’s attorney general.

At a meeting this morning of the committee on public safety and the judiciary, chair Phil Mendelson, along with colleagues Yvette Alexander and Mary Cheh, voted against the confirmation. Council members Jack Evans and Muriel Bowser voted to confirm.

Under council rules, the nomination will now proceed to the full council and is likely to be taken up at tomorrow’s legislative meeting. Mendelson tells LL he expects a vigorous lobbying effort from the mayor’s office in the meantime.

More to come.

UPDATE, 12:33 P.M.: A little bit of procedural nitty-gritty on what took place at the meeting: Mendelson changed what had been an approval resolution to a disapproval resolution. Why? To deny the nomination requires an affirmative vote against it. Not acting on or not passing through an approval resolution by the Dec. deadline would have been a de facto approval.

Here’s what Jack Evans has to say: “I’m disappointed that Council member Mendelson at the last moment changed the approval resolution to a disapproval resolution….I believe that Peter Nickles overall because of his legal skills and organizational skills is the best person to lead the A.G.’s office at the time.” Evans says his colleagues need to “put aside individual incidents that they had and look at the best interests of the city.” He says he plans to introduce an amendment at tomorrow’s council meeting to change the legislation back to an approval resolution.

Here’s Alexander: “It wasn’t a matter of his competence. I think his qualifications are very impressive. However, he’s representing the District of Columbia. I did have some concerns about his blatant firings and his residency.” The fact that he told council members in hearings that he wouldn’t start his house hunt until after his confirmation, she says, “doesn’t show commitment.”

Furthermore, she says, there’s “too much of a conflict” in his various duties. “He acts in some instances as city administrator. He acts in some instances as heads of agencies…There’s a lot of qualified persons out there. I don’t think he’s the only lawyer running around out there.”

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

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