Loose Lips

What, If Any, Council Committee Chairmanship For McDuffie?

D.C. Council Chairman Kwame "Fully Loaded" Brown has scheduled a meeting tomorrow to make committee assignments now that Kenyan McDuffie is the official Ward 5 councilmember. The big question: Will McDuffie get a committee of his own?

As of 4 p.m. today, McDuffie says he doesn't know to which committees he'll be assigned or whether he'll be given a chairmanship of a committee, adding that he has  "no expectation" of being named chairman.

It's possible Brown won't give him one. After all, there aren't any easy vacancies to fill. When disgraced former Ward 5 Council Harry Thomas Jr. stepped down from his perch as chairman of the economic developm ent committee, Brown took that high profile committee for himself and appears uneager to part with it.

But Brown also made it clear during the 2010 chairman's race that he thought every councilmember should chair a committee; he was asked about it several times at candidate forums because people wanted to know if he was going to give Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry a committee. So far, Brown's lived up to that promise when new members join the council. He gave short-term Councilmember Sekou Biddle the chairmanship of a "special" committee on school safety and truancy. And Brown gave his former opponent Councilmember Vincent Orange, who Brown apparently blames for his current troubles with the feds, the reins to the Committee on Small and Local Business Development.

Brown's office didn't immediately respond to a request for comment about McDuffie's potential assignment. And none of LL's usual wags at the Wilson Building know what Brown's plans are. Maybe his mind is elsewhere at the moment...

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • DPR Dysfunction

    Let's hope he gets Parks and Recreation back because "Saint" Tommy Wells is losing his grip of this failing agency. Please read this ridiculous exchange below. I cannot believe that this is what the taxpayers are paying for, to have employees and management have these types of discussions on our dime.


    From: Butler, Ben (DPR)
    Sent: Friday, June 01, 2012 4:28 PM
    To: Aguirre, Jesus (DPR); Lew, Allen (EOM)
    Subject: RE: SECOND REQUEST: Survey - Ward Fairs

    Mr. Director,

    It is quite clear that we disagree on a number of issues. Let's be clear on one issue. The hard work and efforts of long standing DPR employees is not in question. As I stated, we continue to provide quality programs and activities, just we have done long before you arrived. What is in question is what the people you have brought into this agency are doing. If anyone is undermining our hard work it's the people you brought into this agency who don't have a clue about recreation. As a DPR employee and and chief representative DPR employees it is my responsibility and duty to speak out when our profession is being undermined and the rights of our employees are being trampled on by you and your people. Know this, Mr. Director, all too many employees are in fear of losing their jobs in this agency if they speak up. That is why many will not tell you what they really feel. They leave that to me and I'm telling you that what your people have done to this agency has reached a level that will no longer be tolerated. As President of the Union, I am not, nor will I ever be, your subordinate and I will not allow you to treat me as such. You will give me the same respect that I have shown you or we will be seriously at odds. The next time you and I meet, will be in the office of the City Administrator, and/or Mayor. You can explain in front of them why morale is low in DPR. I can't wait to hear you tell your superiors about the new programs you and your people have brought to DPR. It's time to get real Mr. Director and own up to the fact that there's nothing new in DPR except your administration's taking credit for our many years of hard work.


    From: Aguirre, Jesus (DPR)
    Sent: Friday, June 01, 2012 3:28 PM
    To: Butler, Ben (DPR); Lew, Allen (EOM)
    Subject: FW: SECOND REQUEST: Survey - Ward Fairs

    Mr. Butler,

    I wholly disagree with your characterizations below and, as a DPR employee, your inappropriate criticism undermines the hard work and efforts of all DPR employees.

    It's clear we need to meet as soon as possible.

    I am available Monday at 12:00PM.

    Jesús Aguirre

    DC Department of Parks and Recreation
    1250 U Street NW | Washington, DC 20009
    P: 202.673.7665 | E: jesus.aguirre@dc.gov

    We've moved! Effective March 5, 2012, the DC Department of Parks and Recreation’s Central Office is located at 1250 U St. NW. For more information please view our Central Office relocation FAQ Sheet at http://go.usa.gov/UQ7

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    From: Butler, Ben (DPR)
    Cc: Lew, Allen (EOM)
    Sent: Wed May 30 23:02:06 2012
    Subject: RE: SECOND REQUEST: Survey - Ward Fairs

    There is nothing new and improved in terms of programs in DPR. We continue to do what we have always done, and that is to provide quality programs and activities to children, youth and adults in DC. We are recreation professionals. Those who have come into this agency in the last couple of years or so, be it from DC Public Schools or wherever, have taken a look at what has been in place in this agency for many years and have attempted to put a new spin on it for public consumption. If anything, you have taken away from the quality of programming that we have provided for many years. The saying goes, "if it ain't broke, don't try and fix it." Moreover, you shouldn't attempt to take credit for something you did not create. Please do not think for one minute, that the employees of DPR are buying into what you are trying to sell to the public. It is the experienced DPR staff that provide the programs and activities, not anyone in an administrative position, or from the newly formed Community Services and Programs Division. If you really want to improve programs in DPR, have the staff receive training from seasoned recreation professionals. That training is available through the National Recreation and Parks Association. There is no one in the current administration of DPR qualified to provide that training.

    Ben Butler
    AFGE Local 2741