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While he waits for the council to act, Mr. Gray — himself under investigation for ethics-related issues involving his campaign and the hiring practices of his administration — said he is taking steps to beef up ethics compliance in the executive branch. He asked the office of the attorney general to distribute an ethics manual that explains a hodgepodge of ethics standards in “plain language.”

“These standards are complex, confusing and sometimes contradictory,” he said, explaining the need for clarity.

The mayor’s staff formed a 10-point ethics pledge for members of the administration to sign, and Mr. Gray has directed the D.C. Department of Human Resources to form a program of ethics training for all D.C. employees, starting with “ethics counselors” designated within each agency.

“As you know, recent events have caused many District residents to have concerns about their elected leaders,” Mr. Gray wrote in his letter to Ms. Bowser. “And as I’m sure you will agree, ethical lapses by government officials constitute a breach of trust with our citizens.”