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BOTH LOOSE LIPS AND
City Desk distort the true story of why Melvin Doxie was not approved by the District Council as Director of the Office of Campaign Finance (OCF) (12/1). Loose Lips particularly misses the point when he implies that OCF would have been better off if Doxie had been appointed.
Doxie was not the solution to OCF’s long-standing woes; he was part of the problem, and the trouble with his nomination was not primarily his close ties to the mayor and the mayor’s political friends.
Doxie plunged the office into even more disarray than it was in before he arrived. He continued to act as OCF director after the term to which he was appointed expired on May 31, even though the law explicitly forbade him to do so. Every action he took after that date—every OCF decision, every personnel action, even drawing his salary—was taken without any legal authority. Piling up illegal, unenforceable decisions didn’t reduce OCF’s case backlog—it just created confusion. And to date, Doxie has made no offer or effort to repay the city govern-
ment any of the tens of
thousands of dollars of salary
and benefits he collected illegally.
Either Doxie knowingly flouted the law by drawing his salary and making illegal decisions for the past six months, or he was ignorant of the very law he was supposed to enforce. Either explanation disqualified him from the position he sought.
In addition, Doxie worsened the already low morale of the OCF staff. In testimony before the council, he said that he believes in “management by intimidation.” His abuse of OCF staffers resulted in three formal personnel grievances being filed against him (out of a staff of fewer than 20) in just the nine months he served as OCF director. These pending grievances charge that he harassed the staff and engaged in “disrespecting, degrading, and belittling” behavior toward employees. OCF staffers indicated that he created havoc in the agency and constantly threatened them with retaliation.
Doxie also reduced the level of information and service OCF provides to the general public. He demanded that formal freedom-of-information requests be filed for information that should be—and used to be—provided freely and openly by the office.
The story, should you wish to tell it accurately, is: Councilmember Harold Brazil stood practically alone in trying to block approval of Doxie’s nomination, in order to prevent any further damage from being done to the Office of Campaign Finance. Doxie’s abusive and bullying behavior and his misuse of the office eventually alienated even his supporters in the Barry administration, who finally lobbied the council against him. As a result, when the vote was taken in the council Committee on Government Operations, the nomination was disapproved by a vote of 3-1.