Category Archives: Chairman

Issues & Agenda

Ethics Reform

While others may pay lip service to ethics reform, Chairman Brown’s effort to reform ethics in the District has been focused on addressing the fundamentals: (1) ensuring that the laws are clear and comprehensive, and (2) providing the resources needed to help District employees follow the law. Are you looking for <a href=’http://www.cleopatraescorts.co.uk/services/a-level-escorts/’>A-Level Escorts in London?</a> Have a look here…

The rules are scattered throughout federal and local laws, with few clear standards and little attention to enforcement. Many of these laws have significant loopholes. For example, under current law, public officials are not required to disclose affiliations with not-for-profits doing business with the District government or disclose real property obtained outside the District’s borders.

Furthermore, meaningful enforcement of the District’s ethics rules simply does not exist. Although the Office of Campaign Finance and the Board of Elections and Ethics technically are responsible for enforcing our ethics laws, in many cases, the only punishment available for serious ethics violations is a written admonishment or reprimand.

To address this situation, Chairman Brown introduced the Comprehensive Ethics Reform Act of 2011, which would address many of problems in the current ethics laws. Since introduction of that legislation, the Council has seen the introduction of nine ethics-related bills. By itself, this represents a major step forward from less than one year ago, when it seemed as though ethics reform would never be a reality for the city. By the end of this year, the Council will pass Ethics Reform legislation.

In addition, while legislation is pending in the Council, Chairman Brown has already started to implement programs and controls within the Council to ensure that our employees have the necessary training and resources to avoid ethical pitfalls. Working with Councilmembers Bowser, Catania, and Mendelson, he has helped develop a Code of Official Conduct that would govern the actions of Councilmembers and staff, and serve as a single reference to ensure compliance with applicable laws.

In addition, under Chairman Brown’s leadership, the Council has instituted a mandatory training course for new Council employees. Finally, he has directed the General Counsel to implement an internal confidential financial disclosure program for the Council to avoid potential conflicts of interest.

Fiscal Responsibility

Prudent budgeting prepares the District for the future by providing the flexibility to make important investments and respond to emergencies. The Council’s Fiscal Year 2012 budget provides a deposit, albeit relatively small, to rebuild the District’s fund balance, which helps start to fulfill our promise to Wall Street to do so.  Over the next three years, Chairman Brown will work with colleagues and the mayor to strengthen the District’s long-term financial stability and demonstrate the Council’s ability to spend within  means and grow the District’s economy. Having used the District’s fund balance to pay for significant recent expenditures, it is necessary now to restore the undesignated and unrestricted portion of those funds. Increasing the total fund balance to $900 million will improve the city’s cash flow and send a signal to the credit agencies that, although federal retrenchment is looming, the District’s leaders are responsible stewards of the funds that are within their control.

Between 2000 and 2010, the District’s local operating expenditures grew by 20 percent, after adjusting for inflation. Several agencies have led this expansion. For example, during this period, the District’s annual payment into the police and firefighters’ retirement system grew by 114 percent; Child and Family Services Agency spending rose by 74 percent; and the D.C. Public Charter School subsidy grew by 59 percent. These numbers represent real expansion, not the effect of inflation.

Chairman Brown strongly believes that the District is a better place to live now than it was 10 years ago, but maintaining the growth in government is unsustainable, especially in light of the serious threats facing the city’s economy and tax base. The District cannot continue to expand government unless the population and economy grow at a parallel rate.

Committee of the Whole

Committee Jurisdiction

The Committee of the Whole is responsible for the District’s annual budget and financial plan, and amendments, additions, or supplements to the budget; all matters related to public education, including public charter schools; coordinating the Council’s relationships with the Congress, the federal executive branch; monitoring the progress of Council legislation through Congress; monitoring the status of original legislative proposals in Congress that may affect the District of Columbia, the Council, or its legislation; the development of the comprehensive plan and other matters pertaining to land use; public space naming; reapportionment and realignment of the political subdivisions of the District of Columbia; labor relations; cable television; appointments to boards and commissions; Council administration and personnel; the scheduling of all matters for consideration by the Council in the legislative meeting; legislative matters related to the District of Columbia as a political entity, including voting rights, and coordinating the Council’s relationships with appropriate regional, state, and national associations and organizations not specifically assigned to other committees.

The Chairman of the Council is the Chairman of the Committee of the Whole and its members include all members of the Council. The Committee of the Whole meets on the third Tuesday of each month, except during periods of Council recess, to consider measures pending in the Committee of the Whole and measures which have been reported and timely filed by other legislative committees and for the introduction and referral of legislation. Each bill and resolution reported by legislative committees of the Council are referred to the Committee of the Whole for a review of its legal sufficiency and technical compliance with the drafting rules of the Council; for ascertaining completion of the record; for a determination of the sufficiency of the fiscal impact statement; and for scheduling for legislative meetings.

Agencies that fall under this Committee:

      • Council of the District of Columbia
      • District of Columbia Auditor
      • Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority
      • Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments
      • Office of Budget and Planning
      • Office of Cable Television
      • Tobacco Settlement Financing Corporation
      • District of Columbia Public Schools
      • Office of the State Superintendent of Education
      • Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education
      • District of Columbia Public Charter School Board
      • Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development
      • Office of Zoning
      • Board of Zoning Adjustment
      • Zoning Commission of the District of Columbia
      • Department of General Services

Committee Chairman: Kwame R. Brown
Committee Members: All Councilmembers
Interim Committee Director: Neil Rodgers

Meet Chairman Brown

Chairman Kwame R. Brown is an innovative leader and native Washingtonian who has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of District residents; making education, job creation, and economic development the cornerstones of his lifelong service to the community. Sworn into office in January 2011, he is the seventh Chairman to lead the Council of the District of Columbia.

In the first 100 days of his term, Chairman Brown shepherded an unprecedented transformation of the Council, holding more than 100 performance oversight hearings and jump-starting several new initiatives aimed at furthering education reform, increasing fiscal responsibility, creating more jobs, planning new strategies for oversight and effective government, and improving communications with the public.

As an At-Large Councilmember from 2005-2010, Chairman Brown solidified his presence in District government by co-sponsoring more than 170 pieces of legislation. He also has worked hard to protect D.C.’s communities by increasing the police force, revitalizing neighborhoods, strengthening environmental laws, and providing more resources to the victims of domestic violence. His work on the Council lead to a landslide victory in his bid for Chairman in 2010, winning nearly 90 percent of the vote.

A true testament to his leadership and his firm belief that quality education is a right rather than a privilege, the restoration of Phelps Architecture, Construction and Engineering Public High School took place under his leadership.

Chairman Brown also is a past Chair of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. In that role, he presided over a groundbreaking report detailing the steps needed to get residents back to work across the region. He also spearheaded, along with the Greater Washington Board of Trade, recommendations for restructuring the governance of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

A graduate of Woodrow Wilson High School, Chairman Brown holds a Bachelor of Arts in Marketing from Morgan State, and has completed the Senior Executives in Government Program at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and the Business Executive program at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.

He and his wife of 17 years, Marcia, are the proud parents of two children, Lauren and Kwame II, who attend DC Public Schools.