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Mr. Mendelson also said he is angry at overspending by officials with the Fire and Emergency Management Services agency.

“I’m just disgusted with the fiscal management in Fire and EMS. They have $12 million in unbudgeted spending, and it’s outrageous the mayor is giving them more,” said Mr. Mendelson, who was first elected in 1998 and is seeking a fourth term.

“The Department of Corrections budget continues to get whacked, and the problem with cutting Corrections is your correctional system, just like those around the country, has a high recidivism rate … [of] two-thirds. We underinvest in substance-abuse treatment, education and release planning.”

Mr. Brown and Mr. Mendelson said they are looking to their chairman — Vincent C. Gray, who is challenging Mr. Fenty in the mayor’s race — for leadership during the hearings to keep lawmakers focused on cutting the budget and exposing what Mr. Mendelson deemed any “sleight of hand” moves by the mayor.

“We should end up with reducing the spending,” Mr. Mendelson said.