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From time to time, the mayor sends legislation down to the D.C. Council, which, under the legislative body’s rules, the council chairman introduces on his behalf. And, from time to time, the mayor decides for whatever reason that the legislation that’s been sent down needs to be withdrawn.
So no big deal when Mayor Adrian M. Fenty sent a letter to Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray last month asking for a bill, the Corrections Officers Easy-Out Retirement Act of 2007, to be withdrawn. In its place, Fenty transmitted substitute legislation.
The bills aim to improve the retirement benefits for District corrections officers, trying to help with the well-recognized need for younger folks to be doing the dangerous, demanding work inside the D.C. Jail. Fenty’s substitute bill fills out certain technicalities and broadens the bill’s scope to other District agencies.
The problem: The original bill wasn’t sent down by the mayor. It had actually been introduced by At-Large Councilmember Phil Mendelson.
Mendelson wrote a memo back to the council secretary—-cc’d to Fenty’s legislative director, JoAnne Ginsberg—-explaining the situation. “Please note that Bill 17-59 was introduced by me. It is not the Mayor’s to withdraw,” he wrote.
The Fenty response? “Dear Councilmember Mendelson, Thank you for bringing this matter to my attention; it has been rectified,” reads a letter signed by Fenty on Jan. 3.
Says Mendo of Hizzoner’s interest in his bill: “It was kinda cute, wasn’t it?”