D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown has proposed a massive shake up of the council's committee leadership, The Washington Examiner has confirmed.
It's clear from the changes Brown will introduce at a Tuesday council meeting that Ward 6 Councilman Tommy Wells is the only council member to lose power. He is being stripped of his oversight of the department of transportation and the department of public works, and receiving in their place the parks and recreation committee, widely considered the council's least powerful committee assignment.
The transportation blog Greater Greater Washington slammed the move as political gamesmanship in an early morning post, saying Brown targeted Wells because the Ward 6 councilman produced a report earlier this year that closely examined Brown's push for a taxpayer funded fully loaded Lincoln Navigator.
Under Brown's proposal, Ward 3 Councilwoman Mary Cheh would give up her government operations committee and pick up the transportation and public works committee from Wells. Ward 4 Councilwoman Muriel Bowser would then get government operations, and at-large Councilman Vincent Orange would get a newly formed committee overseeing small business development. Orange previously had no committee assignment.
Brown, meanwhile, would continue to add to his power. Despite being in the midst of a federal investigation that came to light on Thursday, Brown will add oversight of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development to his committee, which already includes education.
A federal investigation into accusations that Ward 5 Councilman Harry Thomas pocketed city dollars meant for kids kicked off the committee shakeup after Thomas was stripped of the powerful economic development committee because of the allegations.
Brown's proposal essentially splits the economic development committee between himself and Orange, with Brown getting the better half of the deal.