The District's Board of Elections and Ethics (BOEE) may be in trouble. Since the resignation of the board's chairman, Errol Arthur, it may not be able to do its job as elections approach. The board of three has been operating with just two members since 2009. Mayor Adrian Fenty just announced plans to nominate former Army Secretary Togo West for the board, but local Republicans are taking advantage of the vacancy to make some noise.
Executive director of the D.C. Republican Committee Paul Craney believes the board is the victim of "party politics." Fenty twice nominated Republican Mital Gandhi to the BOEE to occupy a minority seat. Craney believes the D.C. Council hopes to indefinitely stall any Republican occupying the position. So Gandhi sent a curtly worded e-mail to the council today, demanding they vote on his nomination along with West's:
Dear Mr. Chairman and Members of the Council:
I'm a proud Republican in the District of Columbia, and I hope that my party affiliation does not bias your views on my nomination to serve on the Board of Elections and Ethics. The law requires a minority party Board Member, and the Mayor has nominated me with the full support of the Republican Party in the District of Columbia. It is imperative that the Council act on this nomination to ensure the integrity of the electoral process.
I have served the District to the best of my ability, having experienced the electoral process as an active voter for the past thirteen years and as a candidate in three separate District elections when I successfully ran for Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner. In addition, I served as an International Election Monitor in the Republic of Ukraine and have served as a Council-confirmed appointee on the quasi-judicial body of the D.C. Alcoholic Beverage Control Board for the past three and half years, having received affirmative votes from many of you. These experiences are in addition to my organizational and business credentials that were detailed in my public hearing.
I also would like to take this opportunity to clarify that my nomination to the Board of Elections and Ethics is currently active. It seems as though there may have been an error in the Committee Report regarding the referral date, which is April 20, 2010. The Council has 90 days to act on this nomination after the referral date, not including recesses; thus, the nomination is active. In the past several days, I received an e-mail from a Councilmember stating that my nomination had expired and was not resubmitted by the Mayor, so I believe it is important to clarify this matter for the record.
As you proceed to vote on Mr. West as the Chairman of the BOEE, I believe it is imperative that the Council also concurrently vote on the minority party nominee which was favorably recommended by the Committee on Government Operations and the Environment. I respect your vote, be it affirmative or negative, but I ask that you move forward with a vote. I went through a public hearing; I've been asked questions for the record, twice; I've received a favorable recommendation from the Council Committee; I've reached out to every single Councilmember; residents across the District have written letters supporting my nomination; and now the Council must be prudent in its actions and vote on my nomination.
I thank you for your time and service to the District of Columbia. As always, I am available to answer any questions or concerns you may have.
Mital M. Gandhi