Mayor Anthony A. Williams doesn’t schedule too many joint appearances with Ward 4 Councilmember Adrian Fenty. The mayor’s recent references to Fenty during his weekly press conferences usually involve a lecture on how Fenty hasn’t accomplished enough to suceed him as mayor.
But at today’s weekly tilt with the press, held at the Petworth Neighborhood Library in Fenty’s ward, mayor and mayoral wannabe stood together. They unveiled a panel that will help decide the future of Walter Reed Army Medical Center, which is slated to be shuttered in 2011 as part of a government base-closing plan.
Given the mayor’s previous comments about Fenty, some people in the room figured the councilmember crashed the mayor’s party. When asked whether he was supposed to be part of the program, Fenty responded, “Yes. I was invited.”
Good thing his schedule was clear: Sources say an official invite for Fenty to appear at the event was delivered about one hour before the scheduled starting time. And Fenty wasn’t contacted until after it was clear the councilmember planned to show up whether invited or not.
The mayor seemed to be unaware why Fenty was there. During a Williams presentation on library renovations, he asked the host councilmember if he had anything to add. Fenty replied that he was there “to support your efforts on Walter Reed.”
In an e-mail, the mayor’s spokesperson, Vince Morris, refers to questions about the timing of Fenty’s invite as “petty.”
“For the record, my office usually finalizes the agenda for the mayor’s briefing on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning,” Morris wrote. “Once it’s done, we often invite Council members who have an interest in the issue. They are usually gracious and appreciate the call, even if they don’t attend. We were glad that Councilmember Fenty made time to visit his Ward and participate in the mayor’s announcement about Walter Reed.”
ADDENDUM, 3/31: Mayoral spokesperson Vince Morris says he is responsible for inviting councilmembers to press events and was not told personally that Fenty was interested in attending the press conference. Other government sources say Fenty’s staff had made inquiries about the event the previous day.
ADDENDUM ADDENDUM, 4/2: Comments have been locked. A little guidance here: The topic is Mayor Williams’ relationship with Adrian Fenty. It would have been nice to have stuck to it. Try to do so in the future.