Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

The most important change that could result from the soliciting business charges against DC Councilmember Evans: Ending Councilmember "jobs" being considered part-time

book cover, Corrupt Cities: A Practical Guide to Cure and Prevention by Robert Klitgaard, H. Lindsey ParrisThe media are full of stories about how DC Councilman Jack Evans solicited consulting jobs using his DC Council email account ("D.C. Council privately meets with member Jack Evans amid federal probe," Washington Post).  There are calls for censure, him being stripped of his chairmanship of the Finance Committee and membership on other Council committees, etc.

Yes, what Councilman Evans did was wrong, corrupt, a misuse of his office, etc.

But it's but a baby step from the reality that DC Councilmember "jobs" are considered "part-time" and many of the Councilmembers have "outside work" which can significantly increase their income:

-- "Jack Evans 2015 pitch to Manatt," Washington Post, 2019
-- Fewer D.C. Council members report outside income," Washington Post, 2014
-- "Jim Graham fails in bid to challenge ethics ruling," Washington Post, 2013
-- "David Catania's Double Dipping," The FightBack, 2010
-- "Anita Bonds to quit job with D.C. contractor Fort Myer Construction," Washington Business Journal, 2013

Many DC Councilmembers in the past and present have work affiliations with companies that do work for DC, etc., or lobbying positions for law firms and lobbying organizations, etc.

It's unseemly and borders on corruption at the very least.

Past blog entries:

-- "The system of corruption: when you don't understand "systems", of corruption or anything else, you don't understand outcomes," 2010
-- "The highly paid DC City Council and governance and voting systems," 2011
-- "First order change vs. second order change and DC politics," 2010
-- "Umm, it's the system," 2011
-- "The Growth Machine and public graft," 2010
-- "More on DC ethics and corruption: intrinsic vs. extrinsic behavior," 2011
-- "Local corruption, I want to believe* vs. reality," 2011

BUT IT'S LEGAL.

IF COUNCILMEMBER EVANS WOULD HAVE JUST SENT THAT EMAIL FROM HIS PRIVATE EMAIL IT WOULD HAVE BEEN PERFECTLY LEGAL.

I've written various posts suggesting various reforms in how DC is governed and structured. This post has the master list of items:

-- "Incremental piecemeal fixes to DC politics and governance mostly don't help," 2013

WRT Councilmembers, I say either cut their salary in half so that it is really a part time job, or make the job officially full-time, to eliminate these kinds of conflicts of interest.

I'd rather eliminate the conflicts of interest.

DC Councilmembers currently make $133,144 per year ("Who earns the biggest D.C. paychecks? Check out our 2017 searchable database;," Washington Business Journal).  I'd do fine with that were it my income,

BUT ...

I'd rather we bump of the salary by say $25,000 and term the job "full time" and bar all outside work.

Note that the Mayor, Attorney General, and the Chairman of the City Council positions are all considered full-time positions and bar outside entanglements ("Pay Raise Proposed For D.C. Mayor, Council Chairman And Attorney General," WAMU/NPR)

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