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Queries OK’d on personal drivers
Wells seeks to ask agency heads about violations of city law
Question of the Day
Mr. Wells, Ward 6 Democrat, posed the request to council member Mary M. Cheh during a meeting of the Committee on Government Oversight and Environment on Wednesday because it could affect who the committee invites to the Gray hearings.
“Using people as chauffeurs seems to be something that should be reviewed,” Mr. Wells told the committee, noting that multiple agency heads may have a D.C. government-issued car and a driver “who would take them to their nightly residence and back.”
He singled out the Department of Health as an agency that may have employed chauffeurs, although he did not cite specific evidence or personnel.
She said she would permit the questions as long as they are limited in scope and not a “general run-through of all of the executive departments to find out who may have cars and who might have a driver.”
“The hook for me,” Mrs. Cheh said, is “was this part of a system of compensation, was this thought to be part of what one would be entitled to, and who made these decisions?”
Mr. Wells agreed with the chairwoman’s premise.
“It’s not meant to be a broad base,” Mr. Wells said. “There are indicators of one or two other agency directors who may have violated this.”
Mr. Wells also alluded Wednesday to Department of Employment Services Director Rochelle L. Webb, who “to her credit” self-reported that a staff member had been reassigned to shuttle her to and from her temporary residence in January and February.
Ms. Webb disclosed the role of staffer Vernon Lindsey in response to a fleet-management survey that Mr. Wells, chairman of the Committee on Public Works and Transportation, sent to about 40 D.C. agencies earlier this month. The survey is part of ongoing oversight amid reports that high-ranking D.C. officials had acquired “fully-loaded” luxury sport-utility vehicles or engaged in unlawful uses of government vehicles.
Only the mayor can use a personal driver for transportation between home and work, according to D.C. law. The mayor can authorize a driver for another D.C. employee, but the approval must be in place before use.
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About the Author
Tom Howell Jr. covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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