Inquiry Into Conflict At D.C. Agency Is Planned By Council Member Cheh

By: Patrick Madden

August 29, 2016

 

D.C. Council member Mary Cheh says she plans on holding hearings on a recent staff shakeup at the city department that awards major public construction projects.

 

Cheh (D-Ward 3) says she wants to find out what exactly happened at the Department of General Services and is hoping for subpoena power to require people to testify.

 

WAMU 88.5 reported last week that two DGS employees were forced out after contracting disputes involving Fort Myer Construction, a prominent contractor and major campaign contributor to D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) and other District officials.

 

Meanwhile, City Administrator Rashad Young appeared Monday on WAMU’s Kojo Nnamdi Show to explain the city’s handling of the issue. The personnel changes had nothing to do with with any one vendor or contract but with how the department was picking the winners, Young said. Specifically, the agency was using a new scoring system that diluted the preference given to local businesses — a move Young called “indefensible.”

 

“A fundamental change in rules without discussion with the mayor or with me is not something we take lightly,” Young said.

 

Young wouldn’t get into specifics about why the staff members were forced out. He also declined to say whether he told former DGS director Christopher Weaver to fire the employees, citing personnel reasons for both. Weaver ended up resigning just days before the employees were placed on administrative leave.

 

DGS oversees billions of dollars in public construction spending.

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