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The law says a person cannot be a member of the board unless he or she “has resided in the District continuously since the beginning of the 3-year period ending on the day he or she is appointed.”

“The idea of that was to get someone who had a connection, of a firm and substantial nature, with the District,” said Mrs. Cheh, Ward 3 Democrat.

Ms. Bowser said the mayor’s office did not provide her the names of the mayor’s nominees until the night before the announcement, and she tuned into the news conference.

“The law is clear, it’s not ambiguous,” she said of the residency issue. “Everyone is concerned about ethics, and for two straight months I’ve been saying the best thing that we can do about ethics is have a strong leader of the Board of Elections and Ethics.”

Ms. Bowser said the nominations had not been formally transmitted to her office as of late Wednesday, but she has set aside dates in October for a “vigorous” vetting process of all three nominees.

If confirmed, Mr. Mallett would replace Togo D. West Jr., a widely respected leader who served as chairman for about a year before deciding to step aside.

Shortly before his departure, Mr. West referred a campaign finance case against D.C. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown’s 2008 re-election committee to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, citing reporting irregularities that could amount to criminal conduct.

Mrs. Cheh said she is not familiar with Mr. Mallett, but she did play a role in referring Mr. Danzansky, a Ward 3 resident, to the mayor after numerous people told her that he would be a good pick.

Mr. Danzanksy, as a Republican, will satisfy a legal requirement that a member of the minority party serve on the board.

Four other minority-party candidates who were not Republican, including independents and members of the D.C. Statehood-Green Party, were considered.

“But Mr. Danzansky by far was a better candidate than all the others combined,” Mr. Collins said.

Bob Kabel, chairman of the D.C. Republican Committee, publicly thanked Mr. Gray for choosing Mr. Danzansky after the nominiee’s introduction at the John A. Wilson Building.

Mr. Danzansky retired in 2005 as the founding CEO and president of the Mary Baker Eddy Library for the Betterment of Humanity.

Ms. Curry is a partner as the McLeod, Watkinson & Miller law firm and serves as vice chairman of the legal ethics committee on the D.C. Bar.