City Paper is not for tourists
Last month, LL covered the sizable personality conflict between D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray and Deputy Mayor for Education Victor Reinoso.
The conflict remains.
On Tuesday, Reinoso showed up before Gray for his office’s budget hearing. Among the topics discussed was the charter school facility allotment, which is, rather controversially, being cut by $24 million. Gray and Reinoso discussed the topic for more than 15 minutes, and Gray seemed satisified enough with the answers that he invited Reinoso to attend the hearing on the charter schools budget two days later.
Reinoso, though, had a hard time committing to that date. He kept telling Gray that he’d confirm the next day; Gray didn’t understand why he couldn’t just give a yes-or-no answer. “Is that a decision you can make independently?” he asked Reinoso, who sheepishly replied that it was. [Watch the hearing, WMV format, forward to 3:07:50]
Fast forward to yesterday’s hearing, where, surprise, Reinoso doesn’t show.
“I’m gonna begin this portion of our hearing in a bit of an unusual manner,” Gray began. He explained that he had asked Reinoso to attend the hearing, but because he hadn’t heard back as promised, he called the deputy mayor’s office. “We’re told that since he had been the acting city administrator last week, he needed to take a couple of days off. So he is not at work today, and tomorrow presumably. So what I decided to do is something a little bit different from what we do here. Rather than just wringing my hands and decry the fact that he’s not here to be able to talk on this issue, we took the time to excerpt portions of the hearing yesterday.”
Gray then played the 15-plus-minute clip from Tuesday, complete with the scheduling squabble. [Watch the hearing, WMV format, forward to 00:01:30]
Applause and chuckles greeted Gray when the clip ended. “Well, there you have it!” he said, before engaging in some of that hand-wringing. “I think what is especially bothersome to me is that, if one was going to be off, you could have said that earlier in the conversation—-that I can’t be there because I’m not going to be at work on Thursday or Friday. Which, of course, would leave some cynic to believe that you decided that you were gonna be off Thursday or Friday after this exchange.”
Said Gray before moving on to the rest of the hearing, “I think it would have been better if we could have had the deputy mayor here to present it himself, but, one step short of it, we had him on video, whether he chose to be or not.”