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Mayor Vince Gray has ordered his city administrator to investigate just how it came to pass that the District passed a law prohibiting the District government from leasing or buying SUVs and then promptly ignored that law.

Is it just LL, or does new City Administrator Allen Lew sound a little bit defensive?

From Lew’s office, at 5:47 p.m.:

Mayor Vincent C. Gray has requested that the District of Columbia Office of the City Administrator (OCA) conduct a thorough review of all current laws, policies and regulations relating to procurement and use of fleet vehicles.

“The recent inquiries into official use of government vehicles is timely and warranted,” said City Administrator Allen Y. Lew. “As Mayor Gray indicated during his press conference last week, we will ensure that all current laws and regulations are followed. I am reviewing the preliminary report issued today by Councilmember Tommy Wells. While the preliminary report was done quickly and may be missing key information the Administration will appear before the Public Works & Transportation Committee as requested to address the issues raised as well as some of the findings from last year’s DC Auditor’s report.”

With regard to one of the findings in the initial Wells report, it should be noted that the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) has procured “Executive Protection” vehicles for all DC Mayor’s in recent memory and a cursory review of records indicates that similar vehicles have been obtained dating back to the administration of former Mayor Anthony Williams. The Mayor of the District of Columbia has no role in the procurement of the vehicle provided by for his or her use.

“The provisions of District law governing procurement and use of official vehicles is fairly clear,” said Lew. “Our job will be to make sure that all agencies, including independent instrumentalities of District government, are aware of the regulations, receive training where warranted, or provide policy recommendations that may be adopted in the future.”

Mr. Lew has requested relevant documentation on all fleet vehicles, which personnel have access and how each is currently being used. OCA staff is also reviewing best practices for fleet procurement and management.

“Today, we have received a number of questions about this issue and those involved,” said Lew. “I will not make arbitrary snap decisions without reviewing all of the facts. While much of the activity in question pre-dates the 55-day-old Gray Administration, I am committed to making sure that the issues are resolved and that going forward, District staff is properly trained on the laws and regulations.”