Loose Lips

Red Flags

Gabe Klein

One is a high-ranking executive with a French transportation company that failed to win a District contract but may be hungry for redemption. The other is a developer promoting a giant big-box complex in a sparsely populated outskirt of the city. Both senior members of the Marion Barry administration, they teamed up to advise Mayor Vince Gray before he took office, co-chairing his transition committee on transportation.

What else they have in common: They’ve both given city officials heartburn recently over allegations they used those perches to help along their day jobs.

Last November, three weeks after he’d been named a co-chairman of Gray’s transition committee on transportation, Cell Bernardino fired off an e-mail to then-City Administrator Neil Albert, wanting to know what the “hold up” was on an environmental impact screening form for the Fort Lincoln development plan in Ward 5. That would be a necessary permit for the big-box shopping center Bernardino wants to go forward.

“As I’ve mentioned, we have been waiting a long time for [the District Department of Transportation] and [the District Department of the Environment] to provide comments on the retail center [environmental impact statement]. If there are questions/issues I’d like to know so I can respond,” Bernardino wrote from his BlackBerry, in one of several e-mails obtained by Washington City Paper. “If not, what’s the holdup?”

When contacted by LL, he said there was no conflict of interest in his e-mail to Albert “whatsoever.”

“It is my right (and my paying job) to ask what is taking so long with this District process,” Bernardino says via e-mail. He adds that he’d been corresponding with Albert for several years about the Fort Lincoln project—long before he took a spot on the transition committee. Albert couldn’t be reached for comment.

When LL points out to Bernardino that DDOT is one of the agencies he was supposed to be assessing for Gray, Bernardino says he was asking Albert, “who was in a position to buffer [DDOT] from inappropriate influence,” only for information, not for assistance.

Maybe, but it at least looks like Bernardino may have used his perch as transition chair for leverage that other developers wouldn’t have. Bernardino’s claims are also undercut by the fact that former DDOT Director Gabe Klein says Bernardino started pressing him to speed up the environmental impact statement—after joining the transition. “It was awkward, because he wanted me to push on people in the agency,” Klein says. Bernadino says that’s not the case, and he’s puzzled by Klein’s allegations.

Bernardino’s co-chairman, Tom Downs, had a similarly nice vantage point when he started asking officials at DDOT for specifics about the city’s contracts related to his business interests—specifically the District’s Circulator bus program, which Downs’ company, Veolia Transportation, tried to win the contract for in 2009.

“I need all of the financial data on the Circulator bus operation,” Downs wrote Klein last November. “I would like to see capital outlays, by [fiscal year] and source. I would like to see the operating subsidy budget, by year and source. I would like to see ridership for the system and by route, by FY.” A few days later, Downs asked again. “Gabe, I asked the WMATA CFO for the break out of the Circulator expenditures, both capital and operating. I also asked for the same numbers for the street cars. It would be helpful if you sent the same data from your perspective. I am also interested in the Circulator operating contract. Could you provide a copy?”

In an interview, Klein says Downs, who is currently the chairman of Veolia’s North American board, also made several verbal requests for as much information as possible related to Circulator contracts.

Veolia failed to win the Circulator contract when bids were solicited two years ago, city officials say. The current contract will expire in 2013, and officials expect Veolia to make another effort when bidding starts sometime next year.

Klein says Downs’ requests made him and other DDOT officials uncomfortable, and he asked the lawyer for the city’s attorney general assigned to DDOT to intervene. “I knew something wasn’t right,” Klein says.

In an interview, Downs says he was never told by anyone in the Gray transition or DDOT that his requests were making people feel uncomfortable. “Not a single person said a single word about that to me,” says Downs. A spokeswoman for Gray did not respond to questions from LL.

Downs says he was asking for specifics on the Circulator contracts because he was investigating concerns from the D.C. Council that there was a lack of transparency about DDOT’s capital budget. Downs says DDOT has been using a “kind of shell game” to manipulate its numbers.

“I was actually offended by the lack of transparency,” says Downs. “This democracy, at least the one I was used to dealing with, had a firm belief in transparency and accountability.”

He stresses that his requests had nothing to do with helping Veolia, who he says had never shown any interest in bidding on the Circulator contracts.

But records easily available on Metro’s website show Veolia’s clear interest in bidding on the Circulator contract, dating to several months after Downs joined the company in 2009. When LL points this out to Downs, he insists he had no knowledge of any past Circulator-related bids from his company. (Metro does the actual contracting and procurement for the Circulator.)

“Veolia has no interest in a management contract for DDOT and never will,” added Downs, who Gray also tapped to serve on Metro's board of directors. “[DDOT] is too in the dark to be accountable.”

A transition report produced by Downs and Bernadino and released earlier this month is also similarly blunt, accusing DDOT of being an opaque, out-of-control agency that regularly breaks city laws and has wasted money on streetcars that don’t comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act. (A DDOT spokesman says they do, and similar streetcars elsewhere in the country don’t seem to have had a problem transporting the disabled.) Word from the Wilson Building is that the report was read with bemused smiles and promptly forgotten.

Gabe Klein

Still, Downs and Bernadino defend the report, saying it accurately depicts a troubled agency in need of reform. The normally sanguine Klein, meanwhile, seems almost beside himself at what he perceives as slander against a model agency coming from two Barry-era bureaucrats who presided over a city when its transportation network was in disarray. (Bernardino was the embattled head of the Department of Public Works under Barry, a department an old Washington Post editorial called “the bane of taxpayers and elected officials alike.” Downs was the city administrator.)

“What right do these guys have to judge anything that we’ve done?” says Klein. “It’s not really about accountability; it’s about power and control, egos and ultimately money. And it’s just sad that we’re going back to that.”

NAVIGATORGATE: THE BEGINNINGS

Kwame Brown wanted an SUV that looked just like the mayor’s.

That’s what a Wilson Building source told LL in casual conversation a month ago, a juicy little nugget that gave birth to the epic public relations disaster the D.C. Council chairman now finds himself in.

It was a slow news day, so LL went right outside. Lo and behold, there they were, two almost-identical luxury Lincoln Navigators, gleaming in the winter sun. Soon LL reported that Brown’s taxpayer-funded Lincoln Navigator, as well as the mayor’s, cost nearly $2,000 a month. But Brown’s office denied that he’d specifically requested a ride to match the mayor’s. He had just wanted a regular black-on-black SUV.

So was it just a happy coincidence that he wound up getting an SUV that looks just like the mayor’s? (Brown’s Navigator is actually a 2011 model, while Gray’s is a 2010.)

You already know the answer, thanks to Sunday’s Washington Post report detailing the two luxury Lincoln Navigators the city leased for Brown—one of which the chairman rejected because of its interior color scheme.

“We requested from [the] Department of Public Works a black Navigator, black-on-black, interior, GPS, power moon [roof], rear entertainment system and aluminum wheels,” Brown’s aide, Nyasha Smith, wrote in one of many e-mails obtained by the Post that paint a picture of Brown as a vain, status-obsessed politician.

Though certainly the biggest and most noticeable, the SUVs aren’t the only clues that Brown is too obsessed with the trappings of public office, at a time when the city simply cannot afford it. How else to explain the fact that he’s considered ordering a redesign of the ID cards worn by council staff so that they featured his signature? When Gray was chairman, the ID cards somehow survived without such details. Brown’s spokeswoman told LL last month that new cards were being considered because other agency heads, like Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier, have their signatures on their employees’ IDs. (Now Brown’s spokeswoman says there might not be a redesign, after all.) Rumor had it the new cards were originally intended to have Brown’s photo on them, not just his name; his office denied that.

Earlier this year, the Post reported that Brown also ordered a $13,000 renovation of his council office so his budget and policy staff could be housed together in space that took up an entire wing of the Wilson Building. Certainly not a political felony, but when the city’s staring down the barrel of a potential $600 million budget gap, was it really necessary? In light of Navigatorgate, LL wonders whether the office redesign wasn’t just so Brown could feel more important.

At the time, the Post’s article cast Brown as a take-charge kind of guy who was putting his own stamp on the council.

“Look at the decisions I have made, look at the choices I have made,” Brown said. Take a look, indeed.

Got a tip for LL? Send suggestions to lips@washingtoncitypaper.com. Or call (202) 650-6951, 24 hours a day.

Photos by Darrow Montgomery

  • Drez

    Anyone familiar with ethics and potential conflicts of interest is familiar with concept of a Chinese Wall.
    It's stunning-amazing- that these folks who both had/have business before the city and served on Grays transition team would not have recused themselves and been walled off.
    This is just so basic.

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  • Graylover

    I told Gray and his circle to get better people on these transition teams, not the retreads with axes to grind This does not surprise me the least bit, and I knew it would happen. If he don't make some changes quick, we are going to be overwhelmed with scandals and never reach the one city that we need.

  • Ward4DC

    Is this the same Downs that just got put on the Metro board? If so this is way worse than what you are writing and I would hope Council would open an investigation immediately.

  • Steve P.

    "“who was in a position to buffer [DDOT] from inappropriate influence,” only for information, not for assistance."

    That's rich! Hammer the mans boss under the pressure of the transition and that's a buffer? So this guy is saying he wanted to protect DDOT from undue influence and the other guy is like "fuck it!" And lies about his company bidding? I love DC old guard politics. Maybe Kwame and Downs can share a jail cell one day.

  • Alan Suderman

    @ward4dc. I've updated the story to include the fact that Downs is also a Metro board member. Apologies for forgetting to include that.

  • DcRepub

    I want to remind citizens that there is a recall process that can be looked at if things continue to slide downhill at this rate under the new regime of the old guard.

    http://www.dcboee.org/regulations/recall_process.asp

    We cannot tolerate politicians like Brown and Gray that are just out for themselves and their closest friends. We will end up like Detroit and Kwame Kilpatrick.

  • Hypocrite Much?

    Recall Process
    The Signature Gathering Phase
    Petition Filing and Verification Phase
    The Election Phase
    INFORMATION ON THE RECALL OF ELECTED OFFICIALS
    In 1979, District residents were granted the right to recall elected officials with the passage of the Initiative, Referendum, and Recall Procedures Act. Any elected officer of the District of Columbia government (except the Delegate to Congress for the District of Columbia) may be recalled by the registered electors from the election district from which he or she was elected, whenever a petition demanding his or her recall, signed by 10 percent of the registered voters is filed with the Board of Elections and Ethics.

    The Board of Elections and Ethics has published this information sheet to outline the recall process, which has three phases: the signature gathering phase, the petition filing and verification phase, and the election phase. For a complete reading of the laws and regulations concerning the recall of elected officials, see D.C. Official Code §§ 1-204.112 and 1-1001.17, and Title 3 D.C.M.R. Chapter 11, "Recall of Elected Officials."

    THE SIGNATURE GATHERING PHASE
    1. The Notice of Intention to Recall - The recall proceedings begin when a registered voter files with the Board of Elections a "Notice of Intention to Recall." This document must state the reasons for the proposed recall and is limited to 200 words. A "Notice of Intention to Recall" for a citywide or ward-level office may not be filed during the first or last 365 days of the official's term. In the case of an ANC recall, the "Notice of Intention to Recall" may not be filed during the first six months or last six months of the Commissioner's term. The Board serves a copy of the "Notice" to the official, who may file a response of two hundred words or less. The response must be filed within 10 calendar days after the filing of the "Notice of Intention to Recall."

    The registered voter must file with the Office of Campaign Finance a Statement of Organization and a Verified Statement of Contributions within 10 days of organization. Failure to file the required statements will result in rejection of the measure before the petition is issued.

    2. The Petition Form - After the official is given the opportunity to file a response, the proponent may begin to circulate the petition calling for a recall election. The petition by law must include the proponent's notice and the official's response (if any), along with other requirements outlined in the Board's regulations. By law, the recall petition form must be approved by the Board before it can be circulated.

    3. Signature Requirements - The recall petition must be signed by at least 10 percent of the voters registered in the election district which the elected officer represents -- citywide, ward, or ANC. This figure is determined by the published registration totals in effect thirty days before the submission of the signatures for the particular recall petition. In the case of a citywide recall, the signatures submitted must also meet ward distribution requirements, such that the petition contains signatures of at least 10 percent of the voters in at least five of the city's eight election wards, in addition to meeting the 10 percent requirement citywide.

    PETITION FILING AND VERIFICATION PHASE
    1. Filing of Recall Petition - The proponents of a citywide or ward-level recall have a maximum of 180 days to collect the signatures and file the recall petition with the Board, beginning on the date that the elected official submits his or her response to the Intention to Recall. In the case of an ANC recall, the proponents have sixty days.

    2. Board Determination of the Sufficiency of the Recall Petition - The process for verifying the petition signatures is complex and detailed. The Board of Elections must determine whether each person whose name appears on the petition is a properly registered D.C. voter (in the particular election district, if applicable) and then verify a random sample of the signatures on the petition against the signature on file for the voter in the Board's records. Statistical formulas are used during the random sample to ensure, with at least a 95 percent confidence level, that the petition meets the legal requirements. The Board is given 30 days to complete the petition verification process. Under the law, the proponents of the measure and the elected official may send representatives to watch the petition verification process.

    If the number of signatures meets the statutory requirements, the petition is certified by the Board, and a recall election is scheduled.

    THE ELECTION PHASE
    1. Recall Election - By law, a special election is scheduled within 114 days after the Board certifies the sufficiency of the recall petition. The purpose of the election is to determine whether to remove the elected official from office. If the number of citizens voting "FOR" the removal of the elected official is greater than the number voting "AGAINST", then the official is removed from office, and the office is filled as provided by law until a subsequent special election may be held to fill the remainder of the official's term.

    2. Special Election to Fill a Vacancy - A special election to fill the remainder of the recalled official's term is held the first Tuesday occurring 114 days after the Board certifies the results of the recall election. In the case of an ANC, the Board must declare the vacancy and follow the normal proceeding for filling ANC vacancies. The official recalled is not prohibited from being a candidate for the same office in the special election.

  • Southeast Ken

    Is Kwame Brown related to Jack Johnson and Kwame Kilpatrick? Maybe they are distant cousins?

  • Richard notRich

    OH my god - its happening so soon. Now Brown and Gray's active supporters are starting to advise him what he better do. well start with a look in the mirror asking "what have i done?". Has anyone asked Mayor Gray the question why he needed a new SUV(gas prices going to $5.00,premium), and bodyguards? If Michael Bloomberg and others can take the subway, and other cities' council people can skip Lady Gaga, why cant these guys show HUMILITY? And they'll be no investigation or criticism by other council members, ever; - Graham's just as bad, and there are no lawyers to do it. The righteous Mary Cheh supported these guys, and can't now criticize them, she's muffled. Peter Nickles was full of hubris, but at least he would have led the investigation.

  • Sally

    Does this city still have an Inspector General? If so, then we may as well cut their budget to zero since they're failing to do their jobs.

  • DCRez

    Alan:

    When you have transitioning governments I believe it is imparative to have subject matter experts to make recommendations to an incoming administration.

    Your piece did not touch on the methodology by which Bernadino and Downs developed the transportation report.
    According to the report, "the committee co-chairs, subcommittee leaders, and members interviewed agency directors and key management and technical staff and met with Council members and staff, officials of federal
    agencies providing funding and oversight, and representatives of advocacy, industry, and
    community organizations. They examined reports, budgets, plans, and audits; consulted national
    experts and officials in other jurisdictions; and reviewed public input garnered via town-hall
    meetings and e-mail exchanges."

    Your report did not touch on the fact that the transportation director during the second William's term was also a part of this transition advisory team.

    DDOT, as an agency, really and truly has played a shell moving game when it comes to managing their budget. They shift funds from one source to another without the required reprogramming procedures that make such actions transparent and accountable. That 25% of their current projects are operating in the red is a testament to their fiscal irresponsibility.

    You did mention a consultation with the Metro CFO but you didn't mention that she was also the Deputy Director of Financial Resources under DDOT Directors Emeka Moneme and Gabe Klein prior to taking the Metro post.

    Had you done your homework you would have also learn that it under her leadership that this financial hide and seek management style at DDOT began and continues with her replacement appointed by Gabe Klein (who is still on the job).

    I am less concerned about the co-chairs of the transition committee on transportation than I am about the facts numerated in their report. At the end of the day, that is all that matters.

  • I. J.

    The whole Gray and Brown allegations are racist and distorted. The white press said nothing about Chief Cathy Lainer demoting Black police brass and hiring whites in their positions.

    What about Councilman Jim Grahams alleged appetite for male staffers and his corrupt staff taking bribes for city legislation to come to his committee.

    Whites folks don't like Black people being in charge unless they can control them.

  • drez

    @DCrez
    I'm not sure how "having subject matter experts to make recommendations to an incoming administration." equates to placing people with vested interests and active projects before the city on the transition team, and then permitting them to pressure the City Administrator and department heads in an attempt to advance said vested interests and active projects.
    Please enlighten me, otherwise your "defense" amounts to little or nothing but distraction.
    Signed,
    Also a DCrez.

  • drez

    @I.J.
    Oh, look, the race card!
    ...Yet another distraction.

  • LaTonyaSmiles

    GRAY and KWAME ARE SLEAZY POLITICIANS. The poor are suffering with budget cuts but those 2 want their shiny SUVs.

  • Rake

    I was wondering how long it would take the One Citidiots to play the race card. Far sooner than I thought, sadly (I thought sometime around June initially), which means that this one city mess is coming undone far faster than expected.

  • LaTonyaSmiles

    Who paid for the gas for the SUVs. You can be sure that the gas for hte SUVs was paid for with city tax money. Ths city is undergong budget cyuts but they have thier fully-loaded SUVs. Kwame and Gary are fully-loaded themselves with ________ .

  • DDOTExec

    @DCRez / Sarah
    Anyone who knows basic capital project budgeting knows that at any given time a multiphase project will be 25% over budget, but all that matters is the total at the end of the project. Have you ever actually looked at their project financials? Available on their website, certified by the CFO? dashboard.DDOT.dc.gov

    You are one person obsessed with how it was done in the 80's. That's just not government anymore, and is why DDOT has made all of their financials transparent for all to sift through. Dan Tangherlini set this agency up and you hate that.

    Also if the budget Dam set up is so screwy, why is your boss when on the Council and the CFO and outside auditors keep signing. Take it up with them!

  • Hillman

    This feels a whole lot like a return to the Barry era.

    Any Gray supporters care to tell me how it's not? Especially when you couple the hiring of Sulaimon Brown to the city payroll, in excess of $100,000 a year, even though he has no discernable talent or experience?

  • NWDC101

    Process process process huh Sarah? We all know that's a lie. I was in these so called transition meetings. You tried to co-opt a bunch of people including me to look like an inclusive process, then you and your old friends Cell and Tom wrote what you were going to write from the beginning to make yourselves feel better and set you up to try and run DDOT and Cell to get his project through City Hall and Tom to get some business since Veolia is flailing since he took over as rain maker. A tall tale of how things were so good in the 90's until big bad Anthony Williams and Dan Tangherlini came along and made DDOT in particular a great agency, and reformed all of your mistakes. Really???? How stupid do you think we are. I will never participate in one of these transition shows again.

    Your legacy:
    http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-56755859.html

  • Transit Junkie

    Let me get this straight. This guy Downs works for the largest transportation company in the world and his job is to bring in business, and he is sitting on the WMATA board voting on contracts? I couldn't dream this stuff up! Who would investigate this matter?

    Does anyone else see a common thread in this new administration?

  • DCRez

    @DDOTExec: Shifting allocated funds from one source to another without the requisite reprogramming is anything but transparent, it is not only bad accounting it is illegal in the District of Columbia. If you are not documenting shifting funds, then opening your books really amounts to nothing. It is a straw mans arguement.

    You are one person obsessed with continuing the patrionizing attitude of your former boss that citizens should just shut up and let you do what you want with their tax dollars in the manner you want to do it without question.

    As far as your assertion of me as 'hating' because DDOT was established by the Government of the District of Columbia, not Dan Tangherlini, you need to get a refund on that crystal ball.

    I have long said that if the District wanted to ever obtain statehood it needs to function as a state. Every state has a Department of Transportation.

    Speaking of Dan Tangherlini, look at his legacy of budgetary messes starting when he was at the helm of DDOT, then at WMATA and then Citywide as CA. He is not the drum major of fiscal discipline. Find another hero.

  • WardQueen

    "Albert couldn’t be reached for comment."
    ____________________________________________

    Did anyone check the Crew Club?

  • Vince Gray

    Look people! I am tired of you tearing down my administration and some of my finest co-workers and staff. These people earned their right to pillage and pilfer the cities coffers by helping me win. I started out saying I was willing to go to jail for statehood. Now I may end up in jail with Kwame Brown, Michael Brown and Sulaimon Brown and Tom Downs, but we will go down as one team of Browns and a Downs, and bring you Downs with us, as One City!

  • Southeast Ken

    @WardQueen; what is the Crew Club?

  • Terry Miller

    I don't see any conflict-of-interest here. The transition team doesn't make any decisions at all. All they do is file a report. They are not paid for the work and the only benefit is they get to say that they served on the Mayor's transition team.

    And I personally know Barry and Gray and I worked under the Barry administration and now am working under Gray. I don't know either of them very well but other than the fact that both are African Americans, they have very little in common. I do consider this kind of talk racist because it assumes a kinship between two people who are totally different aside from their gender and color.

  • Drez

    Wait... Wasn't Fenty also a black male?
    *rolls eyes at how the race card is still the go to distraction for the indefensible*

  • DDOTInsider

    This was certainly another missed opportunity to do an impartial assessment. Stacking the transition committee with ex-officials is truly a way not to get it. I'd rather have a committee comprised of industry and financial experts who don't have a contractual stake at DDOT and ordinary citizens to come up with conclusions.

    It's been my observation that it's been a challenge for most to make important decisions that aren't tainted by some sort of political pressure.

  • DCRez

    @DDOTInsider: That doesn't make much sense. By tapping the shoulder of previous directors of transportation, both under Barry and Williams, you DID have a committee comprised of industry experts. The industry being public transportation. The committee was not made up of just the co-chairs. The report specifies the methodology by which the report was developed and the sources contacted while doing so.

    I do believe that there was a conflict of interest in the co-chairs contacting the former city administrator to press for movement on contracts associated with their 'day job'. This is clear.

    Nonetheless, if the facts, standing on their own, are yet still facts, I am more interested in what they say over this sideshow.

    DDOT needs to get it's financial house in order and follow the contracting laws of the District of Columbia. Failure to do so makes them ripe for waste, fraud and abuse. Unless we are too late.

  • DDOTInsider

    One issue in the report I do agree with is this the fact that DDOT does not have a good way to tie long range financial planning with project planning goals. The agency would greatly benefit from a comprehesive asset management system that would make it easier for those in charge to make informed decisions. Efforts to implement this type of system previously have been stalled by internal mismanagement. Implementation of an asset management system can even have an impact on a jurisdiction's bond rating.

  • http://www.gabeklein.com Gabe Klein

    Hi DC Rez: Gabe Klein here, Ex-Director for DDOT. Feel free to look at the financials online. In fact, on the operating side, we came in $7m under budget, and that includes a $16m snow-magaddeon overrun and only $5m offset by the emergency fund. We also still gave almost $40 million back to the general fund. Pretty amazing.

    http://dashboard.ddot.dc.gov/DTAPDOC/Other/Finance726904_Finance625297_KAFY11.pdf

    On the capital side: DOT, the federal agency that oversees DDOT’s Federal Aid capital projects has agreed with all federal-aid eligible capital expenditures. No disapprovals from Council, and no outside audit findings on the local budget side for capital expenditures either. Fundamentally, and this has been an ongoing issue with the Council Budget Asst Director, the Gray Transition Team is applying a different philosophical view of capital expenditures, and what is appropriate to bill to the program which is their prerogative. But that has nothing to do with legality of prior practice and frankly, what is industry standard in 2011. In essence, they are sadly indicting the Gray team who has had Council oversight for the program for the past 4 years. What's also sad, is by trying to make these false indictments for personal reasons, it continues to preclude DC from maximizing federal funding and participation for competitive grants.

    I hope this helps. It's a very, very complicated budget, but that's why there are 6 different checks and balances, outside audits, and an excellent resource management team at DDOT, as well as signoff by OCFO who reports to Congress. It cant get more stringent.

    Oh, and letting previous Directors that ran the agency when it was last in the nation in just about every metric...run the transition? When it was spending 50% more than San Francisco for instance for horrible services for our constituents? No, that's obviously not the best way to do it. I just have to be honest here. It wasn't lack of $ btw, it was severe mismanagement across the government.

    For those who forget what we used to deal with in the mid 90's, read these WaPo articles:
    http://innercity.org/columbiaheights/newspaper/articles_1995_1997/mismanage1.html

    http://innercity.org/columbiaheights/newspaper/articles_1995_1997/mismanage2.html
    PT 2 has the service numbers as well.

  • NU78

    I don't really see anything wrong here. In the case of what Downs was asking for, isn't that all public information that should be available to ANYONE when they ask for it?

  • http://washingtoncitypaper.com Inwashdcmdva1

    Why,Why,Why???!!!!!!???!!? Damn!!!!!!!!

    I thought you were better than this Mr. Gray!

  • DCDem

    @GabeKlein: Of everything DDOT says it "shows" the public, why is the CFO's office saying that it has at least a $15 million dollar budget hole (deficit) to fill for FY11?

    The "DDOT Executive" commenting on this blog personifies the attitude that comes from the senior staff at your former agency. Very paternalistic and nasty. In public service you are going to take criticism from the public. That is the nature of the beast.

    I am not buying their suggestion that running deficits are a common practice in public projects. If that were so, perhaps we need to modify the way that public projects are run. What ever happened to the concept "on budget, on time"?

    More, when the city is dipping into its emergency fund to underwrite the costs of city projects that aren't fully or only partially funded with federal dollars, why is it that you marched full throttle with new projects? Putting them on the fast track. I mean you were, in essence, spending emergency funds and terminating your employees due to budget pressures at the same time. Where was the fiscal discipline? where was the austerity? Do you feel that it is 'good leadership' to spend tax dollars on luxuries, no matter how popular the project may be, when the city has to dip into the emergency fund to balance it's budget?

    With all due respect Mr. Klein, I think you should take a lesson from former president George W. Bush when it comes to criticizing the following administration. In short, he had the class to let his work speak for itself and not criticize the sitting president. You have a right to defend your record, and he doesn't even do that, however, joining the chorus suggesting the sitting administration is a throwback to the Barry days, coming from a former director, looks pretty lame.

    Let you tell it, you made no mistakes.

  • DCDem

    Forgot to mention, the transition team for transportation included the former director of DDOT under the second Williams term. Immediately following Dan Tangherlini after he left for WMATA. As I recall it, these were not "dire" economic times and she certainly knew the inner workings of public transportation in that she WORKED her way to the top. Her entire career was devoted to public transportation.

  • oboe

    DCDem: "DDOT wuz mismanaged!"

    Klein: "You're wrong. Here's why: a), b), c), ..., zz)"

    DCDem: "You are very rude, sir! How dare you duck when I throw poo at you!"

    Anyway, I give Klein credit for wading into the CP comments roll. Talk about a dirty job. Get out while you can, Klein!

    :)

  • DCDem

    @oboe: Shouldn't you be studying for your GED exam?

  • DCDem

    Exact words to Klein:

    "You have a right to defend your record...however, joining the chorus suggesting the sitting administration is a throwback to the Barry days, coming from a former director, looks pretty lame."

    That is directed at Klein's repeated public suggestion that an administration that is less than 3 months old is like the entire Barry regime.

  • Drez

    +1 Gabe.

  • Some Ideas

    -2 Gabe. This whole back and forth in a blog is not really appropriate for someone who held one of the 52 "state" DOT executive positions in the U.S.

    The whole streetcar episode over the summer demonstrated that Gabe had/has his own constituency. That constituency strongly supported him and he called on it to address changes in funding for streetcar. For Mayor Gray it would be illogical to retain as a department executive someone who would not follow the mayoral direction, directly challenged your decision/authority in public and proceeded in their own way - anyways.

    In government or in corporate politics the same thing happens over and over the chief executives are looking for business line chiefs (department heads) to execute the CEOs plan, not to go off the reservation,do their own thing --- and not in public.

  • petey

    You people see that Gabe was responding to Sarah Campbell as @DCRez. He has every right to defend his former agency because they can't or risk being fired. The attack in the report was more on the Directors before him anyways, went back 10 years. Plus, I doubt it was really him posting, nut I hope so.

  • Transit Junkie

    Gabe doesn't even need to say anything in my book. This weeks Gray debacle one after the other shows me everything I need to know to see he's right. The next four years are going to be very painful, and very embarrassing for the city. Oh how we will all wish we could have Fenty and Klein back

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