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As D.C. councilmembers close the first legislative meeting of 2019, they do so with a slightly different committee configuration.
Neither Councilmember Trayon White nor Robert White previously chaired committees, per Council Chairman Phil Mendelson’s policy that has denied freshman lawmakers committee chairmanships.
Now, Councilmembers White and White (no relation) will chair newly created committees: the Committee on Recreation and Youth Affairs, for Trayon White, and the Committee on Facilities and Procurement for Robert White.
Robert White says he has already begun touring the agencies that fall under his purview, which includes the Department of General Services, in order to better understand their strengths and weaknesses, though he declines to talk in specifics about plans
Another notable shake up is in the Committee on Education, chaired by Councilmember David Grosso.A year of school scandals prompted Mendelson to reconfigure oversight of D.C. Public Schools and charter schools. Now, Grosso’s education committee and the Committee of the Whole, which Mendelson chairs, will share oversight duties.
Asked for an explanation of wresting some control away from Grosso, during a news conference earlier this week, Mendelson said two committees “bring more firepower” to issues with the District’s education system.
“Education is a critical issue in the District … and members of the Council overwhelmingly are concerned about the quality of education,” Mendelson said.
Grosso echoed those thoughts, saying the extra oversight will “elevate the conversation around education to a higher level.”
Below is a quick rundown of committee chairmanships and their budgets:
• Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau
Committee: Committee on Human Services
Notable agencies: Department of Human Services, Department on Disability Services, Office of Disability Rights, Child and Family Services Agency
Agencies’ total budget: $1.1 billion
Nadeau had the Department of Youth and Rehabilitation Services and the Juvenile Abscondence Review Committee removed from her committee.
• Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans
Committee: Committee on Finance and Revenue
Notable agencies: DC Lottery and Charitable Games, Commission on Arts and the Humanities, Office of Finance and Treasury, Office of Financial Management, Office of Financial Operations, Office and Tax and Revenue, Office of the Chief Financial Officer, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
Agencies’ total budget: $1.3 billion
Evans’ single-practice law firm received 200,000 shares of stock in a digital sign company before he pushed legislation that would have helped that company, the Washington Post reported. Evans has said he returned the shares within days of receiving them. Mendelson said on WAMU’s Politics Hour that Evans’ acceptance and return of the gifts looks bad, but the chairman has not yet seen a level of conduct that would warrant corrective action or committee reassignment.
• Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh
Committee: Committee on Transportation and the Environment
Notable agencies: Department of Energy and Environment, Department of Motor Vehicles, Department of Public Works, District Department of Transportation, District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority, Leadership Council for a Cleaner Anacostia River, Major Crash Review Task Force, Pedestrian Advisory Council
Agencies’ total budget: $1.6 billion
Cheh had two agencies (Department of General Services and Department of Parks and Recreation) stripped from her committee and divided to create new committees for Councilmembers Trayon White and Robert White.
• Ward 4 Councilmember Brandon Todd
Committee: Committee on Government Operations
Notable agencies: Executive Office of the Mayor, Interfaith Council, Mayor’s Office of Legal Counsel, Office of Human Rights, Office of Community Affairs, Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Affairs, Office of Public-Private Partnerships, Office of the Chief Technology Office, Office of the City Administrator, Office of the Inspector General, Secretary of the District of Columbia
Agencies’ total budget: $178 million
Todd had the Commission on Fathers, Men, and Boys removed from his committee.
• Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie
Committee: Committee on Business and Economic Development
Notable agencies: Office of the People’s Counsel, Department of Small and Local Business Development, Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, Department of For-Hire Vehicles
Agencies’ total budget: $197 million
• Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen
Committee: Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety
Notable agencies: Board of Ethics and Government Accountability, Department of Corrections, Department of Forensic Sciences, Board of Elections, Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, Sentencing Commission, D.C. National Guard, Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department, Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, Metropolitan Police Department, Office of Campaign Finance, Office of the Attorney General, Office of the Chief Medical Examiner
Agencies’ total budget: $1.4 billion
• Ward 7 Councilmember Vince Gray
Committee: Committee on Health
Notable agencies: Department of Behavioral Health, Department of Health, Department on Health Care Finance, Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services, D.C. Health Benefit Exchange Authority, Not-For-Profit Hospital Corporation
Agencies’ total budget: $3.9 billion
• Ward 8 Councilmember Trayon White
Committee: Committee on Recreation and Youth Affairs
Agencies: Department of Parks and Recreation (formerly under Cheh’s Committee on Transportation and the Environment) Commission on Fathers, Men, and Boys, Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services, Deputy Mayor for Greater Economic Opportunity, Juvenile Abscondence Review Committee
• At-Large Councilmember Robert White
Committee: Committee on Facilities and Procurement
Notable agencies: Advisory Neighborhood Commissions, Contract Appeals Board, Commission on Re-entry and Returning Citizen Affairs, Office of Returning Citizens, Office of Contracting and Procurement, and the Department of General Services.
• At-Large Councilmember Elissa Silverman
Committee: Committee on Labor and Workforce Development
Notable agencies: Department of Human Resources, Department of Employment Services, Office of Employee Appeals, Office of Risk Management, Workforce Investment Council
Agencies’ total budget: $176 million
Silverman had the Deputy Mayor for Greater Economic Opportunity removed from her committee.
• At-Large Councilmember Anita Bonds
Committee: Committee on Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization
Notable agencies: Housing Finance Agency, D.C. Office on Aging, Department of Housing and Community Development, Housing Authority Subsidy.
Agencies’ total budget: $479 million
Bonds had the Office of Returning Citizens and Advisory neighborhood Commissions removed from her committee.
• At-Large Councilmember David Grosso
Committee: Committee on Education
Notable agencies: D.C. Public Schools, Office of the State Superintendent, D.C. Public Charter Schools, D.C. Public Library, State Board of Education, Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education
Agencies’ total budget: $2.5 billion
• Council Chairman Phil Mendelson
Committee: Committee of the Whole
Notable agencies: Auditor of the District of Columbia, Council of the District of Columbia, Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, Office of Budget and Planning, Office of Planning, Office of Statehood Delegation, Office of Zoning, Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, University of the District of Columbia
Agencies’ total budget: $1.6 billion
* Figures are approved budgets for FY 2018.