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Mayor Vince Gray is set to push, again, for lobbyist Rod Woodson to join the influential D.C. water board of directors, according to city sources.

Gray nominated Woodson to the post last year, but that effort was derailed by potential conflict of interest issues and opposition from labor groups. Woodson works at the firm Holland & Knight, which is a major player in land-use and development issues in the District and represents several deep-pocketed landowners who probably don’t want to see their water rates raised to pay for D.C. Water’s $2.6 billion let’s-stop-pumping-sewage-into-the-area’s-rivers effort. Holland & Knight also represents contractors who are trying to undo the union-friendly First Source law.

A union official, who was not authorized to speak on the record, says City Administrator Allen Lew recently met with top labor leaders to secure their support for Woodson’s nomination. The board has two vacancies, and Gray could appease labor interests by appointing a union official to the other open spot. Gray recently picked Jos Williams, Metropolitan Washington Council of the AFL-CIO,  to join the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority’s board shortly after nominating D.C. Chamber of Commerce boss Barbara Lang to the same board.  A spokesman for the mayor would only say the Gray administration is “in the process of reviewing candidates and will make an announcement shortly.” Woodson did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Ward 6 Councilmartyr Saint Tommy Wells, who explained his opposition to Woodson’s appointment last summer by saying that he does “not see how a partner at Holland & Knight isn’t business at usual,” said he’ll keep an “open mind” on whether Woodson’s nomination deserves a second look.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery