A few months ago, Mayor Vince Gray nominated his good pal Rod Woodson for the city’s water board. Labor groups, unhappy with the Holland & Knight lobbyist’s opposition to the city’s First Source law, torpedoed that nomination in short order.
Now labor is gearing up to challenge the mayor’s selection of another close friend for another board. Gray has tapped Barbara Lang, the CEO of the D.C. Chamber of Commerce whose husband helped raise money for the mayor’s 2010 campaign, for the highly dysfunctional Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority board. Union officials say Lang’s previous opposition to “working-family friendly policies,” like project-labor agreements, make her a suspect choice.
In a statement, Gray said Lang’s “business acumen and personal skills will serve her and the people of D.C. well on this important board.” (A spokesman for Lang say he’ll get back to LL, who will update as needed.)
A slot on the airports board has typically gone to the politically connected. Former Mayor Anthony Williams put alleged Gray shadow-campaign financier Jeff Thompson on the board. He was followed by Leonard Manning, who controlled the city’s lottery contract for many years.
It would not look good for the mayor to have another high-profile board pick rejected by the council, which is holding a hearing on Lang’s confirmation in a few minutes.
Update: In response to gentle questioning at the hearing from Council Chairman Phil Mendelson about her position on labor issues, Lang said she was a “collaborative person” willing to sit down and discuss any concerns labor officials might have.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery