City State: D.C. Council begins hearing on Gray hirings

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He knew the HR team — Judy Banks, Constance Newman and Lorraine Green — but did not have close oversight of them, he told the committee. Charles testified they had general conversations about the volume of people looking for employment, but not particular people.

He said he met Mr. Brown day after primary, but had no conversations about him getting a job.

“He was very clear he wanted to work for the administration, ” Mr. Charles said, noting Mr. Brown thought he was smart enough and talented enough. “He was just very adamant about receiving employment.”

According to Mr. Charles, Mr. Brown thought he was a valued contributor to the Gray campaign and “most influential.”

“I thought that was inaccurate at best, and told him that,” Mr. Charles said.

Mr. Charles told Mr. Catania that he did not want to disparage Brown, but his self-inflated value was “out of proportion” with his role in the campaign.

Mr. Charles said he met Peyton Brooks during the campaign. He did not know he was heading to deputy mayor’s office or how he applied for the job, but not surprised he was hired.

He said he was unfamiliar with how any of the children of government employees applied for and obtained their jobs, except for Leslie Green. He said she was active during the campaign, but appeared to have applied online.

Mr. Willoughby testified Mr. Gray’s recently fired chief of staff, Gerri Mason Hall, called him up Jan. 14 and ask him to meet with Mr. Brown “as a courtesy,” although the purpose wasn’t explicitly clear.

“In my mind, it was never an interview,” Mr. Willoughby said. “There was no application, and there was no opening.”

Mr. Willoughby met with Mr. Brown Jan. 18 for about 15 minutes. Mr. Brown asked about an opening in the auditing unit, but Mr. Willoughby discovered the posted job had been filled back in June.

“He was very appreciative of me taking the time to meet with him, and that ended the meeting,” Mr. Willoughby said.

Responding to tough questions from Mr. Catania, Mr. Willoughby said former mayors Anthony Williams and Adrian Fenty never asked him to meet with anyone, nor did members of their staff.

Mr. Willoughby said he has received resume referrals from the executive and legislative branches before, but he always has potential candidates apply through the normal selection process.

Mr. Catania suggested their was a sense of urgency from the mayor’s office, noting that within two weeks, Brown was on payroll of Healthcare Finance, “which doesn’t suggest much of a vetting process.”

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