D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray symbolically noted his disapproval Tuesday with the final version of legislation that postpones the city's first election for attorney general by four years, returning the bill to the D.C. Council unsigned.
The measure, which delays the election until at least 2018 and restructures the Office of the Attorney General, will still become law — just without the mayor's endorsement.
The D.C. Council voted this month to delay the scheduled 2014 election until at least 2018, meaning that an elected attorney general would not take office until 2019 — nine years after voters overwhelmingly approved the move in a referendum.
In his letter to D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, Mr. Gray outlined three aspects of the adopted bill that concerned him — first and foremost, the election's delay.
"The Council had the full legal authority to do so. … However, I regret that the Council made this policy choice," Mr. Gray wrote.
Citing a summary of the referendum written by the Board of Elections which stated that residents would begin voting for the position in 2014, the mayor said residents were given the expectation the election would take place that year.
When he originally submitted a bill to the council, Mr. Gray proposed changes to the attorney general's office that would restructure the agency by requiring attorneys to report to supervisors within the city agency they advised rather than the attorney general. While those changes were kept intact, council amendments pushed back the timeline for the vote.
Noting his second point of disapproval, Mr. Gray said the restructuring should be pushed back until the position becomes elected. But under the legislation passed by the council, it will take effect in October 2014.
Mr. Gray's third complaint was a bit more technical. He said the reporting structure for attorneys working within the Child Support Services Division was not changed, and he believed those attorneys should report to an agency director rather than the attorney general.
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