One major refrain for supporters of Adrian Fenty‘s mayoral campaign is that challenger Vincent Gray is subtly promising to restore the bad old days of consequence-free ineptitude for D.C. government staffers. Gray, for instance, has famously declined to offer an opinion on schools chief Michelle Rhee‘s recent firing of under-performing teachers, instead focusing on the procedure by which the pink-slipped employees were identified.
But is the D.C. Council chairman now planning to move past the process critiques and actively use the plight of fired bureaucrats as a campaign issue? That’s the implication of an email from a Gray volunteer that was forwarded to LL over the weekend:
The Vince Gray for Mayor Campaign has an URGENT REQUEST For:
Are you or do you know any DC resident formerly employed by the DC Government that was involuntarily terminated by the Fenty Administration? We would like you to please share your story with the Vince Gray for Mayor Campaign.
Please contact Keith Childs @ 202-345-3935 or firstname.lastname@example.org No later than Sunday August 8th 4:00pm
REMINDER: Early voting starts on August 30th and ends on September 14th we need EVERYONE to GET OUT and VOTE to ELECT Vince Gray Mayor! Avoid the lines and crowds, VOTE EARLY!!
Gray spokeswoman Traci Hughes says there’s no plan to use fired staffers against the man who fired them. In an interview with LL, Hughes was quick to distance the campaign from the email, saying the “unauthorized” message was sent out by an “overzealous” campaign volunteer who was “trying to be helpful.”
“It is not something the campaign is pursuing,” she said.
Still, Hughes couldn’t resist a dig against Fenty’s reputation as an axe-happy boss: She added that even if Gray did want to talk to fired employees, he doesn’t have time to talk to all the ones who have been let go during the Fenty administration.