Loose Lips

Gray Orders Investigation into SUVgate

Mayor Vince Gray has ordered his city administrator to investigate just how it came to pass that the District passed a law prohibiting the District government from leasing or buying SUVs and then promptly ignored that law.

Is it just LL, or does new City Administrator Allen Lew sound a little bit defensive?

From Lew's office, at 5:47 p.m.:

Mayor Vincent C. Gray has requested that the District of Columbia Office of the City Administrator (OCA) conduct a thorough review of all current laws, policies and regulations relating to procurement and use of fleet vehicles.

“The recent inquiries into official use of government vehicles is timely and warranted,” said City Administrator Allen Y. Lew. “As Mayor Gray indicated during his press conference last week, we will ensure that all current laws and regulations are followed. I am reviewing the preliminary report issued today by Councilmember Tommy Wells. While the preliminary report was done quickly and may be missing key information the Administration will appear before the Public Works & Transportation Committee as requested to address the issues raised as well as some of the findings from last year’s DC Auditor’s report.”

With regard to one of the findings in the initial Wells report, it should be noted that the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) has procured “Executive Protection” vehicles for all DC Mayor’s in recent memory and a cursory review of records indicates that similar vehicles have been obtained dating back to the administration of former Mayor Anthony Williams. The Mayor of the District of Columbia has no role in the procurement of the vehicle provided by for his or her use.

“The provisions of District law governing procurement and use of official vehicles is fairly clear,” said Lew. “Our job will be to make sure that all agencies, including independent instrumentalities of District government, are aware of the regulations, receive training where warranted, or provide policy recommendations that may be adopted in the future.”

Mr. Lew has requested relevant documentation on all fleet vehicles, which personnel have access and how each is currently being used. OCA staff is also reviewing best practices for fleet procurement and management.

"Today, we have received a number of questions about this issue and those involved,” said Lew. “I will not make arbitrary snap decisions without reviewing all of the facts. While much of the activity in question pre-dates the 55-day-old Gray Administration, I am committed to making sure that the issues are resolved and that going forward, District staff is properly trained on the laws and regulations.”

  • NU78

    Has Allen Lew ever been given a city-owned or city-leased vehicle to drive? And if so, was it an SUV?

  • Sally

    Whatever Gray is paying his communications czarinas, he's vastly overpaying.

  • LeftforGood

    "...has procured “Executive Protection” vehicles for all DC Mayor’s..."

    MAYOR'S??? it should be MAYORS, the plural!

    how much do the gray press people get paid to make such basic mistakes on a daily basis? come on linda!

  • TK

    What agency procured the Lincoln Town Car for his staff's use? Which overpriced bureaucrat was that actually leased for in his office?

  • LOL

    relax people. there will be much more to dig into when the investigation proceeds. we are like the people at the restaurant who have order food but are filling up on the bread.

  • Skrilla

    Translation: "We at the Gray administration will not rest until we find someone (or something) else to blame".

    The "55 day old Gray administration" is imploding, and poorly written, defensive press releases are becoming its calling card. Getcha popcorn ready!

    Oh, and Ruben Charles had a meeting with the mayor today. Wonder what that was about...

  • Northwesterner

    The Gray administration is imploding in on itself. that is the truth.

  • Anothernative

    Excuse me for being the killer whale in this shark feeding frenzie but, WTF does KB pressing an agency head to belt out an SUV to his specs have to do with the inner workings of the Grey administration? Show me the agency head that is willing to take on the sitting (CITY COUCIL ChAIR) and I'll show you an idiot, this has absolutely nothing to do with the Grey administration's mishaps when you really look at it.

  • noodlez

    THE ONLY THING IMPLODING IS ALL YOU FAGGIE FENTY SUPPORTERS BRAIN CELLS FROM ALL THE INFORMATION YOU ARE RECEIVING ON A DAILY.

    YOUR MENTAL CANT TAKE THE TRANSPARENCY SO YOU DO WHAT IS NATURAL FOR A SORRY ASS INDIVIDUAL. YOU LEAK AND SPEW IGNORANCE, DUMB SHIT AND BULL SHIT FROM ALL THE OVERLOAD YOU CANT SEEM TO UNDERSTAND.

  • Jason

    Really good point Noodlez. Well put too, especially the heavy use of capital letters.

  • Dig Deeper

    Mayor Gray, if you don't do anything else sell that hospital, before Mr. David Catania finds some way to get his little grubby hands on some kickbacks.

  • DC Is Watching

    This is funny. Mr Lew is going to investigate the SUV scandal after being dropped off by his driver and car that DC covers. Excuse me, but what is wrong with that picture?

    Wake up Mayor Gray and get control of your ONE city!

  • DCRez

    Tommy Wells is the worst. This fool has been on the council during which time all of these SUV's were procured. The law has been on the books since 2004. This fraud of a Committee Chair was alerted of the law in the City Paper, after the fact, then writes a "report" as if he is the voice of reason and savior of the day; the DC steward extraordinaire. And he did so, from committee, without allowing "committee" input. I guess he is a Committee of One in his big head.

    Per a committee member:

    “I think the [Wells] report was handled in an inappropriate process,” said Mr. Thomas, one of five committee members. “How can a report be released without committee input? This may be a violation of council rules.”

    Tommy Wells is and always will be a day late and a dollar short. What a joke.

    “We can’t get so distracted we don’t look at the whole agency,” he added. “Public works includes an extraordinary range of programs and policies. How are we investing the city’s money?”

  • Rake

    @DCRez - Harry Thomas? Talking about others violating rules? What? I just threw up in my mouth a little. Try to find a councilmember with a little more (like any) credibility to make your point with.

  • noodlez

    TOWN CARS, CROWN VICS AND IMPALAS ARENT EXACTLY GREEN VEHICLES.

    WHY CANT AGENCY HEADS TELE-CONFERENCE? IF THEY NEED TO GET TO A PHYSICAL MEETING THEN ACCOUNT FOR TIME TO DO SO AND USE METRO. IF NOT METRO ACCESSABLE THEN CATCH A CAB. IM ALL FOR HELPING GM, FORD AND CHRYSLER BUT WDC SHOULD NOT BE FUNDING THEIR COME-UP BY PURCHASING OR LEASING TOP SHELF VEHICLES.

  • Terry Miller

    Excuse me if I am not so upset about this. I am trying to be fair. Frankly, I don't think I would be that upset about the alleged violations of the SUV law if it were being blamed on Fenty...oops. Just read the Washington Post article on this and buried deep inside is a sentence about how MOST of the SUVs were acquired during the previous administration.

    I am still not that upset! I think the cost of the leases is a little high, but otherwise, I think there is a proper government use for SUVs, even with the high gas mileage. And there is an exception for just that purpose.

    But a word to the wise to all Gray administration officials: The Fenty administration broke a lot of laws so you need to take an extra good look at all your practices and make sure you are following the law. Especially look at procurement laws, FOIA, employment laws, conflict of interest, etc. Workers have been trained in the Fenty-way which is not usually the legal way so need to retrained to operate in accordance with the law.

  • noodlez

    ACCORDING TO FAGGIE FENTY SUPPORTERS CUTTING CORNERS DIDNT MATTER BECAUSE HE GOT THINGS DONE.

    IM STILL WAITING FOR SOMEONE TO LEGITIMALY TELL ME ONE THING THAT THAT CLOWN DID THAT BENEFITTED THE CITIZENS OF THIS CITY THAT WAS NOT ALREADY IN MOTION BEFORE HE TOOK OFFICE.

    HOWEVER THEY ARE QUICK TO BLAME THE CURRENT ADMINISTRATION FOR CARRY OVER. THE MEDIA ARE ESCALATING AND SENSATIONALIZING EVERY MISSTEP, EVERY GAFFE, EVERY STONE OVERTURNED TO DISPLAY MISMANAGEMENT BY THE PREVIOUS CLIQUE BECAUSE THEY WASN’T ABLE TO TOUCH SAID ROCKS THE PAST FOUR YEARS.

    WHAT REALLY GETS ME IS HOW FOLK ARE IN DENIAL. HOW THEY ARE QUICK TO JUST BRUSH THE PREVIOUS ADMINISTRATION’S CRAP UNDER THE RUG AND THEN ASK WHAT IS THAT SMELL. THEN AUTOMATICALLY ASSUME THAT MAYOR GRAY HAD A BIT OF INCONTINENCE.

  • DCRez

    @Rake: Harry Thomas, per se, is not the point. The point, to aid you in simple reading for comprehension, is that Council committees have rules that govern how they operate. Wells is unfortunately the chair of one such committee. He released a report "from committee" before bringing the subject matter before the committee. Not one of them. He has bestowed himself to be the committee of 1.

  • Keith B.

    What are you going to do about it noodlez? Fenty's gone, lots of us here are glad. I voted for Gray because he was supposed to run things different. If he starts to backslide he better be prepared to catch the heat for it. I'd say Vince's press release shows a step in the right direction.

  • Just the facts, ma’am

    @DCRez: When I'm looking for an expert on ethics, honesty, and transparency, I looked to Thomas and his Team (and his tank engine).

  • NU78

    WHY is nobody reporting the name of the car dealership that is leasing D.C. those two fully loaded SUVs for Kwame Brown at such a high price??

    Why aren't the media asking the dealer to justify the price of those leases?

  • Really?

    LOL @ noodlez! I bet Al is sitting in his draws smoking a Cigarette.

  • Get Real

    Mr. Lew calls the kettle black each and every day he goes from site to site with a driver AND a Chevy Tahoe.

  • http://deleted Etta

    The Mayor should have a large car becasuse he has police protection.Fenty did not want this because he basically did a lot of sneaking around and keeping his actitives hidden. It was not because he was trying to be environmentalist.The rest of the people should be driving Ford Fiesta or some other American subcompact that is economically a gas saver if they need cars for their work.
    I will say it again we voted for Mr. Gray and the Fenty supporters should get over it.Fenty lied his friends stole and the Washington Post and the rest of you never said a word.He put unqualifed in jobs and it was fine. Now there is so much to say about this one or that one is not qualified because they are not all young and White. Yes I have said it. Mr. Gray has picked Blacks and Whites and Asian and woman that are qualified.He has tried to have one city even if the whites do not want one unless they are in charge.

  • Drez

    Popcorn futures for sale!
    $1 today, $10 tomorrow!
    Buy 'em now while they're cheap!

  • Anothernative

    The consummate myopic pessimis, I guess it's hard to say good bye to yesterday, GOI.

  • Pingback: Loose Lips Daily: The Bell Tolls For Sessoms Edition | The Memphis News Press

  • Boston

    I love all the comments. We have one of the weakest Council's in a long time. Many of them need to go home. Unfortunately, we are gonna feel the pain for some time. When Gray's education team held it Ward 4/5 transition meeting. It was terrible. No mic, no agenda, and no one knew what the hell they were talking about. Why are 2 wards grouped together? every ward has its own issues to resolve.

    More bull sh... from our elected officials. "Fully Loaded", UDC, Team Thomas, more speed cams., tickets,no new jobs and Walmart is going to kill all small businesses. Why do we need 4 stores in a 12 mile square? We gotta get better people in office. Last many of the Policies are scams on citizens to keep more of our cash for silly games and now Gray talkin raisin taxes.

    Charlie Sheen is looking more emotionally stable than many of the people WE put in office. We gotta do better.

    State tuned for Bull Sh...t

  • punkinthegreat

    Yes but who’s paying for all this extravagance! And what the hell else are we paying for? Could this be the reason for the deficit? Fat cats getting fatter on my paycheck, giving out furloughs and riding around in a car I paid for but I’m over here struggling to keep my electric on and he doesn’t like the color of the car I’m paying for. What else am I paying for? They need to look at all those part-time scallywags. Open up the box and let it all hang out dammit!

  • Gurley

    DCREZ....got it right on the POINT. Tom Wells is not familiar with OVERSIGHT POWERS OR PUBLIC LAWS that govern the D.C. agencies.

    Wells...need to go. But, you voted back in...just about 8 months ago.

    D.C. RESIDENTS...FOLKS!!!

    STOP ALLOWING THE WASH. POST AND CITY PAPER DIRECT YOUR ATTENTION...and divert you from the real, serious money crimes that DEVELOPERS, BIG BUSINESS AND POLITICAL FRIENDS ARE GETTING AWAY WITH...while your City Council does NOTHING!

    Bigger FISH TO FRY.....
    1) Why did Jack Evans use $400 million of your dollars to BUILD THE MARRIOTT FAMILY A CONVENTION CTR. HOTEL? The Marriott Family has enough money to build a dozen hotels?
    Is Jack Evans getting a cut of the money from Marriott?

    2) Why did your Council spend your tax dollars to build the Upper Class Rich folks a new ARENA STAGE ON M St.S.W.?

    3) Why did your council give Mr.Abe Pollin $50 million dollars...no strings???

    4) Why is your Council still paying a D.C. Old Time, Old D.C. Family Management Company $500,000. a month for a S.W. Warehouse/Building that is not being used? Was planned to be the new HQTRS. of the D.C. Police Dept.

    5) Why are D.C. workers being FURLOUGH while the Council is still funding the H Street Trolley? Metro Subway has raised their rates; Upper N.W. rich folks have the CONNECTOR BUS LINE; there is still the regularly traveled D.C. Metro Bus...WHY DOES A TROLLEY FURLOUGH D.C. WORKERS AND TEACHERS?

    Stop allowing the Wash. Post and City Paper tell you WHAT TO THINK….AND decide what ISSUE IN THE DISTRICT …is important!!!!!!!

    There is nothing but YELLOW JOURNALISM COMING FROM THE Wash. Post and City Paper.

    Wake …Trusting Citizens.

    Calvin H. Gurley

  • http://www.amamimus.com/solutions.html AMamiMus Business Services

    Anothernative and TerryMiller have made some cogent points.

    1) The vehicle leases are carryover from the previous administration.

    2) What agency head is so foolish as to NOT dance to the tune of a sitting Council Chairman?

    3) The Gray administration would definitely do well to ingrain ethics back into DC government staffers, to distance themselves from the Fenty culture.

  • Southeast Resident

    @Deep Digger, you would rather Gray sell the hospital to another thieving person, similar to the presnt and former theiving entities that were running the hospital?

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