Ward 4 Councilwoman Muriel Bowser isn’t happy that, more than seven weeks after a legal deadline, Mayor Vincent Gray hasn’t named his picks for the District’s new ethics board.
Under the original law establishing the Board of Ethics and Government Accountability, which will write ethics rules for city employees and investigate allegations of misconduct, the mayor was to appoint all three of the panel’s members by March 14. By Monday, though, Gray had not make his selections.
Now, Bowser wants to give Council Chairman Kwame Brown the authority to make a pick.
“One member shall be appointed by the council chair with the advice and consent of the council,” Bowser wrote in emergency legislation that lawmakers will consider on Tuesday.
In an interview with The Washington Examiner, Bowser said her motive is speed, not increased legislative power.
"We're really looking to get this board up and running," she said. "The mayor will still have the majority of appointments."
A spokesman for Gray wasn’t immediately available for comment.
The task of appointing ethics board members has in recent weeks become a lingering personnel headache for Gray.
A senior administration official previously told The Examiner that the mayor hadn’t nominated anyone to the panel because potential appointees rejected Gray’s entreaties.
"Everybody turns us down," the official said. "No one wants to serve."
On Friday, mayoral spokesman Pedro Ribeiro said that Gray was seeking individuals with legal experience for board service.
"We're looking for experienced leaders in the city with legal experience who can really help the board carry out its mission," Ribeiro said.
The law, though, sets out far more limited qualifications: Prospective members must be registered voters who have lived in the District for at least a year. They also cannot be lobbyists, convicted felons, or officeholders in city government or District political organizations.