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Public schedules of politicians can be mundane. It’s not uncommon for a daily item to read, “There are no public events scheduled.” And no politician is going to disclose secret, questionable, or super sensitive meetings.
But it is uncommon to simply stop offering up a public schedule.
Mayor Muriel Bowser has gone without a daily schedule since May. The last routine “public calendar” listing on the mayor’s official website was for May 11, the kickoff of her summer “Alleypalooza” to repair and repave neighborhood alleys.
It’s not like the Bowser administration has been shy about her schedules in the past. The mayor’s website has 258 separate pages of her schedule dating back to late 2014 when she still was mayor-elect.
Bowser’s first public schedule as mayor was announced for Sunday, Jan. 4, 2015, two days after she was sworn into office. That Sunday she appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press with then Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier and then DC Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson as the trio of women running the Nation’s Capital.
Over the summer, the mayor’s office has announced a variety of miscellaneous, upcoming events that she wants to promote, but her public schedule is missing in action.
Over the Labor Day weekend it took three days to get something of an answer on why the public schedule was deep-sixed. The mayor’s communications office told City Paper that it now plans to “resume distributing the public schedule when [the] Council returns on the 17th.” It’s not clear why the mayor’s office would base its actions on the Council’s schedule, especially since it hasn’t done so in the past.
One Bowser administration official said the mayor had no role in stopping—or restarting—the public schedule, that the communications folks themselves “made a decision, due to redundancy, to distribute advisories and releases in lieu of the public schedule.”
The mayor does maintain an undisclosed, official calendar that only a limited number of those on her staff see.