Loose Lips

You’re Hired, Again!

This post has been updated and modified to include comments from Lopez.

Josh Lopez, who was the Ward 4 coordinator for Mayor Adrian Fenty's failed re-election campaign, was hired last Monday (Sept. 27) to be a "program analyst" in the Office of the Deputy Mayor of Planning and Development, according to records obtained by LL from the CFO's office. His salary: $72,000 a year.

Which is pretty good timing, considering the District just imposed a hiring freeze this week and budget officials announced a big deficit for next year on the very day Lopez started work.

It turns out Lopez's stint in government was a short one. Lopez tells LL he quit after just four days on the job to go work as a volunteer on a Fenty write-in campaign.

"I looked at the number and thought there was a realistic chance of us winning," Lopez said, adding that he hadn't spoken to Fenty about the effort.

Lopez is described as a "volunteer leader" on the RunFentyRun Facebook page and was at Vince Gray's Ward 5 town hall meeting last night, where a Gray supporter says he was engaged in less-than-friendly banter with Gray's folks. (Lopez achieved a small measure of notoriety during the campaign when he tried to disrupt a Gray news conference with a bullhorn, which the Gray campaign documented here.)

According to CFO records, Lopez's only prior experience working in D.C. government was working in Fenty's D.C. Council office. Lopez started as a "clerk" for Councilmember Fenty in September 2004 and worked his way up to "research specialist," when he resigned in March 2006. Campaign finance records show he then went to work on Fenty's first campaign for mayor in 2006, making more than $31,000. (He made $20,000 working for Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser's campaign in 2007, and so far has made $30,030 from Fenty 2010.)

As for that 4-day city job, Fenty spokesman Sean Madigan says Lopez was hired to be an outreach coordinator for a public housing initiative called "New Communities." Madigan says two other Fenty campaign workers, whose names he couldn't immediately recall, have also been brought on board since the primary. Lopez says he worked in a similar capacity for a non-profit from 2007 to 2009, and was brought on board to ensure a smooth transition (or "potential transition" as he put it) for an important initiative.

But even if Lopez and other Fenty campaign workers are qualified for their new jobs, LL doesn't think it passes the smell test for a lame-duck mayor to start hiring his former campaign aides. Lopez's first day was the same day that CFO Nat Gandhi briefed officials that the city was facing a $175 million budget shortfall—a shortfall that led Fenty to impose a hiring freeze a week later. The city is broke; now's not the time (not that there ever is a time) to be doling out rewards to a favored few.

Lopez's take on whether it's a fishy deal: "I don't know, you'd have to ask the people," adding that it's commonplace for politicians to hire people they know and trust.

He said he plans to donate his earnings from his 4-day stint as a city bureaucrat to a non-profit, possibly D.C. Watch, whose own Dorothy Brizill first brought up Lopez' hiring at a news conference this week. LL asked if he was kidding, Lopez said he was not.

If you know more about former Fenty campaign aides finding D.C. government jobs in the nick of time, please email LL (lips@washingtoncitypaper.com) or give him a call at 202-332-2100.

Comments

  1. Southeast Resident
    #1

    Dorothy Brizill should be hired to work for the DC Inspector General!

  2. #2

    Wow looselips, thanks for more misinformation after a tough primary. Thanks for the inside scoop on public information Brizill, great reporting captain obvious. Its common practice in any state for campaigners to come on board for a transition government. Didn't Gray run on more jobs and then order a freeze? Oh more jobs as long as you don't speak the forbidden word for the next four years FENTY. I'm excited to see this trainwreck administration take on education and city services.

  3. #3

    How did Josh Lopez land at $72,000.00 yearl position? What is Joshua Lopez qualifications and his educational background? It appears, this young man has turned into a bully on Adrian Fenty's team. Thank you Dorothy Brizill for being a watch dog over District Government corruption.

  4. #4

    LL:

    Please look at the Department of Real Estate Services where there was wholesale firing of Agency Employees only to be replaced with concubines, mistresses and lovers.The juicy stuff that has been going on at DRES would fill several pages of your column. It has sex, politics, cronyism and corruption. It has intrigue, blackmail and intimidation. Trust me. The guy who is in charge of the contracting unit (Will childs) is the same guy who was involved in shipping the fire engine to the Dominican Republic. The number of lawsuits of employees who were either fired or abused and harassed is skyrocketing. LL, you will not be disappointed.

  5. #5

    I heard that Fire Chief Dennis Rubin is somehow changing high level, highly paid "excepted service" personnel to career service, to protect them from being fired when the new administration comes in. These "assistant fire chief" are direct reports to the Fire/EMS chief and were originally appointed without competition by the current Chief. Maybe Loose Lips could look into that.

  6. #6

    These actions will force the new mayor to RIF people if he cannot tell the good eggs from the bad.

  7. #7

    Donny Gonzalez is another outreach specialist who was hired by circumvention. He has openly campaigned during work hours -- a Hatch Act violation. He also had a hand in the Dominican Republic fire truck fiasco. And where is Dave Jannarone now? Fenty's good friend is still making illicit deals.

  8. #8

    Just a note... Josh is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi...Things that make you go hmmm...

  9. #9

    David Jannarone is now over at DCHD in a high paid position, please check it out. Leila Edmonds, someone should check why those deals went down under her watch.

  10. #10

    I meant DHCD

  11. #11

    Leila Edmonds in Fenty's cousin.

  12. #12

    The blond communications campaign worker - Helen Hare? I saw her walking out of the Wilson Building this week. I think she's working for the administration as a communications person. Another fine addition to the team.

    It doesn't surprise me, and it's not uncommon that the Green Team is now a part of the administration. But it doesn't make sense to pay them these salaries and reward them for losing the campaign for Fenty. I wonder if anyone current administration got a pay raise before the freeze?

  13. #13

    RealDC..... Name 5 people from any OUTGOING admins campaign who have ever gotten hired to jobs at the 11th hour in this common practice? Pick any OUTGOING campaign you want EXCEPT Fenty's to justify your "common practice". This sounds to me like the thousands of times Fenty justified his questionable act with the "best practices" saying. What he failed to realize is if you don't have the data to back it up, just saying it doesn't make it so.

    What you MAY be confusing as "common practice" is the INCOMING admins hiring campain workers to work with the transition. Don't get it twisted. What is happening now is they are trying to secure jobs for everyone before they are no longer in a position to hire any more NONqualified people for these jobs.

    They know it's wrong which is why the person is "no longer with us" two days after it became public knowledge. WAKE UP!!!

  14. #14

    David Jannarone is second in charge over at DHCD (Deptuy Director)...He took Victor Selmen's spot.

  15. #15

    And people say Gray is going to take DC back to the Barry years? Fenty has been the Crony King since he's been in office but let's forget all that because people love Superwoman.

  16. #16

    Investigate ‘em ALL … old dirty politics. Starting with Councilman Barry, why do people keeping voting for him. I think he is a disgrace What does he has done for ward 8 or the city so he claims he has done great things , please point them out , WARD 8 was nothing but a dump for all the years He was the MAYOR and Councilman why couldn’t he get those people JOBS, fix the schools. If weren’t for Williams who brought the city back from bankruptcy, what Barry did was put all of his mistresses at DOES and his CRONIES with contracts,

  17. #17

    Lopez for Mayor!!

  18. #18

    He is how you work it.

    1. Get the DC Personnel List from Human Resources.

    2. Scale it down to people who are excepted service or were hired after September 14 into "excepted service" appointments but are now "career service"

    3. If you don't want to keep the "excepted service" employees, dismiss them.

    4. If you find that the "excepted service" turned "career service" employees did not COMPETE for those "career service" positions. Dismiss them, as this is illegal. They are required to compete for them just like any citizen in the general public, to skip competition invalidates the job assignment.

    5. Let Dorothy Bazille do all of your legwork. She is good at this kind of thing.

  19. #19

    Good job Alan!

  20. #20

    There are two Fenty campaign workers employed in the past two weeks by Tracy Sandler, executive director of Serve-DC, the Mayor's Office on Volunteerism.

    One has my former job asd the Program Officer for Disability Inclusion and Traning and the other works in a job vacated just after my departure in the Emergency Preparedness half of Serve DC.

    I met both of the former campaign workers at Serve DC when I stopped by to retrieve a Barney Frank biography I had lent to the deputy director.

  21. #21

    Who cares? Really, Alan is it that much of a big deal? Why does it matter, all you are spreading is malicious gossip. Fenty is on his way out, Gray in; why dont you begin to question and vet his new team.

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