D.C. Council committee backs pick for alcohol board chair

Local,DC,Alan Blinder

A D.C. Council committee on Friday unanimously signed off on Ruthanne Miller's nomination to serve a full term as the chairwoman of the city's Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.

Miller's selection was the subject of a tense committee hearing on Thursday, during which two board members criticized her leadership style. One member, Mike Silverstein, said board meetings amounted to "a dysfunctional family picnic every week" on Miller's watch.

Miller, who took the board's gavel in January, acknowledged personality clashes with other members, but she defended her record as a reform-minded leader.

"I don't think a good chair should accept the status quo," said Miller, who told lawmakers that the disputes "just made things less pleasant at times."

Ward 1 Councilman Jim Graham, the chairman of the committee that handled Miller's nomination, said he was concerned about the disagreements among board members, but he felt Miller was qualified.

"I believe she has an issue," Graham said Friday. "The need for harmony is very great, but we can all work together and get things done without being in love with each other... No one knows that better than the D.C. Council."

The full council will take up Miller's nomination on Tuesday.

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