City Desk

Gray Slams, Slams Fenty & Co. on Schools

D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray is currently in the midst of slamming, hard, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and his education deputies—DCPS Chancellor Michelle Rhee, Deputy Mayor Victor Reinoso, and school facilities chief Allan Allen Y. Lew—for bigfooting the legislature.

Gray, in some of his strongest anti-Fenty statements to date, called Fenty et al.'s behavior "unconscionable" from the council dais.

"This started off as a partnership, and an enthusiastic partnership, to reform District of Columbia Public Schools," he said. "There's been more than a few days where it's been a nightmare."

His remarks follow a sharply worded but largely cordial six-page July 8 letter [PDF] explaining in detail why he and colleagues chose to disapprove recent construction contracts.

"As the Councilmember from Ward 4 for six years, you can clearly appreciate the important role the Council plays in providing oversight to Executive agencies," Gray wrote, in one of his more condescending lines.

Today, with Lew and Reinoso no-shows and with Rhee choosing to leave early (at 4:25 p.m.) rather than testify, Gray is choosing to recess rather than close the contracts hearing. He deemed the executive branch's behavior as "either an incredibly disingenuous act or an incredibly misinformed act."

"We are the Council of the District of Columbia, and we have a right to ask these questions," he said.

UPDATE, 5:30 P.M.: Mayoral spokesperson Dena Iverson points out that Gray & Co. knew very well that Rhee had to leave when she did; the mayor's office informed the council days ago that she had a prior commitment out of town. Still waiting for word on Reinoso's alibi.

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