D.C. Council report: Vince Gray administration engaged in illegal hiring practices
- (Photo: Jay Westcott)
The earthquake didn't shake Mayor Vince Gray, but a new report on his administration's hiring practices sure has. A D.C. Council special committee has found "clear evidence" that his administration illegally hired children of senior officials, paid salaries that exceeded the legal limit, and engaged in "nepotism and cronyism." The report also concluded that Sulaimon Brown was indeed paid by a member of the 2010 Gray campaign to criticize then–Mayor Adrian M. Fenty.
Gray himself was mostly cleared of blame, the Post reports; instead, the committee targeted three members of his transition team: Judy Banks, interim director of the D.C. Department of Human Resources; Gerri Mason Hall, his former chief of staff; and Lorraine Green, who chaired his transition team. Gray himself was not involved directly in the illegal hires, but said, "I continue to take full responsibility for mistakes made by myself and members of my staff in the beginning weeks of my administration."
The committee found that five adult children of senior officials were hired by the District: Peyton Brooks (son of Howard Brooks), Nicholas Hall (son of Gerri Mason Hall), Brandon Webb, Leroy Ellis, and Leslie Green (daughter of Lorraine Green). While the hiring of Brooks was not a violation of nepotism laws, it was a violation of standard procedures. Hall's hiring was illegal, Webb was "not highly qualified" for his position, and the Ellis hiring was "cronyism," the committee reported. The hiring of Boyd and Green, meanwhile, was legal and legitimate.
What does this mean for Gray? While he isn't, as of now, in legal trouble, he does have a public relations crisis on his hands. Councilwoman Mary Cheh told the Post that, although the committee found fault with "that sorority of women," "at the end of the day, he is still responsible. He picked them, and they are his subordinates." As the report states, "Although this damage is not irreparable, it will take time for the residents of the District of Columbia to regain their trust in their government."
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