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Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh says that Mayor Vince Gray needs to either reduce some of his top aides’ salaries or get council approval for the high pay.

Cheh’s released a committee report today that says there are eight Gray staffers whose salaries exceed the council’s cap.

They are: Gray’s chief of staff Gerri Mason Hall and the city administrator’s chief of staff Warren Graves, whose salaries should be capped at $193,125. The report says that six agency directors— Department of Health Director Mohammed Ahkter, interim H.R. director Judy Banks, Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerby, Schools boss Kaya Henderson, A.G. Irv Nathan, and Department of Health Care Finance Director Wayne Turnage—top out above the council-approved cap of $179,096 for agency bosses.

Cheh’s report says that it appreciates that Gray needs “flexibility” to pay for top talent, but “nevertheless, the mayor must seek council approval” before doleing out the big bucks.

The rest of the report pretty much gives Gray a pass on all the other hiring problems that have engulfed his administration lately. On charges of nepotism, the report says it hasn’t found any evidence of senior Gray officials acting improperly and notes that “intra-familial has occurred in previous administrations.”

The report apparently provoked some strong reaction from Councilmember David Catania, who dubbed it a “whitewash.” (LL wasn’t at the hearing where the report was released, but LL No. 6 Mike DeBonis did a great job live tweeting the back and forth.)  Also at the hearing, Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr. got some digs in on Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells for releasing his report on Navigatorgate to the public before Well’s committee had had a chance to read it.

DeBonis also notes that after the hearing, Catania said that Hall ought to be thinking about resigning given the Gray administration’s recent troubles.

Here’s the report, do you think it’s a whitewash?

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