- The Washington Times - Monday, May 12, 2003

District leaders yesterday had mixed feelings over reports that several key congressional leaders want to investigate the six-figure salaries paid to 575 D.C. employees.

“Any congressman who wants to get involved in a local matter should go back and read their Constitution,” said D.C. Council member Adrian Fenty, Ward 4 Democrat. “It’s completely wrong for a federal lawmaker to look into a local matter.”

Council member Harold Brazil, at-large Democrat, questioned the priorities of congressional leaders who would want to get involved “in the minutiae” of D.C. affairs.

“I was actually kind of shocked,” Mr. Brazil said. “They need to be looking at the president’s tax cut plan, on financial aid to cash-strapped states and how to get Iraq rebuilt. Getting into the business affairs of the District is surprising.”

But City Administrator John A. Koskinen welcomed the chance to answer any questions federal lawmakers might have about the city’s management.

“It’s important for them to be satisfied that the District is being run as efficiently as it should be,”he said.

A spokeswoman for Mayor Anthony A. Williams declined to comment and referred all telephone calls to Mr. Koskinen.

The Washington Times reported yesterday that key Republican congressional leaders said they plan to look into the high-level salaries earned by 575 D.C. employees because they are not convinced the city is getting its money’s worth.

“It’s like the question, do you pay the quarterback $6 million? You do if he wins the games, but that doesn’t seem to be happening here,” said Rep. Thomas M. Davis III, Virginia Republican and chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, which has oversight of many D.C. matters.

“This is just another reason why I think [Congress] should have some oversight of the District,” said Sen. George V. Voinovich, chairman of the Senate Governmental Affairs subcommittee for the District.

Their comments come after The Times reported last month that the District has many more employees earning $100,000 salaries than Chicago, a city with nearly 3 million residents, and Baltimore, a city similar in size, with 651,000 residents.

Of the District’s 34,000 city employees, 575 earn $100,000 or more a year, up from 301 in 1999, when Mr. Williams, a Democrat, took office.

Mr. Koskinen yesterday took exception to these numbers and said the comparisons were not fair. “We have a whole set of functions that Chicago, New York and Los Angeles don’t have because we are running [the city] as a state, so we are going to have more people,” he said.

Mr. Williams had said he was going to review the salaries and try to determine why the District had so many employees earning above $100,000 when the city — like many others nationwide — is strapped for cash. But Mr. Koskinen later said the administration would review only manpower issues, not salaries.

Yesterday, Mr. Koskinen reiterated that a salary review was not necessary because “a thorough analysis of administrative costs, including salary levels” had been conducted this year and that its results had been given to D.C. Council members and congressional leaders.

Mr. Koskinen said each administrator is subject to an annual review that judges his or her job performance. “Some people have been dismissed for not meeting performance expectations,” he said.

He declined to specify how many employees have been fired as a result of the reviews. But he said the city met 70 percent to 75 percent of its performance goals last year.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide