IN OTHER WORDS: So which 50 days would you like to toss out, Mr. Mayor?

It’s no secret that the best time to drop bad news in Washington is a Friday afternoon when people have turned their attention to the weekend.

It’s even better when the Friday afternoon is in the dead of summer and those people left in town are concentrating on beating triple-digit temperatures and heat indices more appropriate to the planet Mercury.

So we were surprised when D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s team chose the waning minutes of happy hour Friday to deliver via email to reporters the good news about the mayor’s first 200 days in office.

The mayor’s team boasts modest accomplishments such as more school and police funding and a balanced budget in a 12-page glossy handout containing 17 color photos of Mr. Gray from his first six months in office.

Couldn’t there be a better time to boast of achievements? For instance, at the mayor’s weekly news briefing?

Turns out that may have been the plan.

An agenda item for Mr. Gray’s regular Wednesday press briefing contained this item: “First 150 Days Accomplishments.”

Unfortunately, the item was yanked from the final agenda and the mayor was forced to answer questions at the briefing about new reports that emerged last week about campaign finance irregularities during his campaign.

Or maybe the initial plan had just been to overlook 50 days or so.

Common sense

An impressive-looking draft report was issued last week recommending changes that would improve governance at Metro.

Released by a panel called the Governance Work Group - created by Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and D.C. Mayor Vincent V. Gray - the announcement highlights suggestions for serious strategic changes under thumbnail icons of the flags of Virginia, Maryland and the District.

The announcement includes proposals that the Metro Board implement member qualifications and impose term limits. It calls for the board to establish a multiyear strategic plan, budget development and a performance-measurement process “to focus the message being sent to WMATA management by the Board.”

But we were more interested in some of the suggestions found deeper in the 17-page report.

The report suggests that the board focus its attention on high-level policy debates, that it institute a uniformed compensation policy for board members and that the members are required to show up for meetings.

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