FOX 5's Vice President and General Manager Duffy Dyer gives his take on issues in the DC Region.
Where's Harry Thomas, Jr.?
Last Wednesday, the D.C. City Council's Committee on Government Operations, chaired by Ward 4 Councilwoman Muriel Bowser, held a hearing on ethics legislation that lasted more than eight hours.
The task before this committee is daunting in part due to the dark cloud under which the council is operating. Several of the council members have been accused of ethical lapses. Daunting also in part due to the short timeline that Council Chairman Kwame Brown has given to the committee to complete the task - nine weeks. Nine weeks to come up with effective and enforceable legislation including penalties for ethical violations.
Ten ethics bills are in front of Ms. Bowser's committee. They address several issues including term limits, constituent service funds, outside employment to name just a few. In addition to the ten bills is the plethora of proposals offered by the 30 or so people who testified at the hearing. There is much work to be done.
Given the huge task before it, every member of the committee needed to be on hand to hear the testimony. Harry Thomas, Jr. was absent. What was more important to Councilman Thomas than ethics reform? We really don't know. A staff member from Harry Thomas' office would only tell FOX 5's Matt Ackland that the councilman had several things on his schedule that kept him from attending.
This was a hearing that went on for about eight hours mind you. Councilman Thomas must have had a very busy day not to have attended even a portion of the hearing.
I certainly recognize the irony here. After all, Councilman Thomas is currently under investigation by the U.S. Attorney's Office regarding allegations that he diverted over $300,000 from a fund that was to support youth programs, funds that he is currently repaying to the city. But, like it or not, he's on the committee. If Councilman Thomas doesn't feel that he can conduct the city's business regarding ethics reform, he should step down from the committee.
A wise man once told me that sometimes, half the job is just showing up. If Councilman Thomas wants to take part in this process and show the voters in his ward and the rest of D.C. that he is serious about ethics reform, he needs, first, to show up.
That’s my take. What’s yours? Comment below here on myfoxdc.com or send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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