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Government and People
Testimony of Dorothy A. Brizill
Executive Director, DCWatch
to the Committee on Government Operations on
March 27, 2003
Good morning. I am Dorothy Brizill, a citizen of the District of Columbia and executive director of DCWatch.com. I believe that my experience has made me particularly well qualified to comment on this legislation. I have been concerned about management and corruption issues in the DC government for a number of years, and have followed the activities of several DC Inspectors General.
I attended the Congressional hearings that resulted in the adoption of PL 104-8, the District of Columbia Financial Responsibility and Management Assistance Act of 1995, which amended DC law to create the current form of the Inspector General's office. And, since the passage of that law, I followed, with both interest and concern, the performance of successive Inspectors General: Angela Avant, who was dismissed by the Control Board for lack of investigative experience and her performance in office; Robert Thomas, who was dismissed by the Control Board for lack of auditing experience and his performance in office; E. Barrett Prettyman; and Charles Maddox.
I believe that Mr. Maddox's performance has amply shown his unsuitability for the office, and I believe that he should be removed from office for cause. However, I do not support this legislation, for one reason. The legislation would require the Inspector General to be an "attorney" or "certified public accountant," with some additional qualifications. I do not believe that being a member of either profession is a necessary requirement for being a good Inspector General, and I believe that this legislation would preclude good candidates for the office from being considered in the future.
It is laudable to set standards and qualifications for the position, but the qualifications in this law are too specific. I would support language more in keeping with the federal standard in Public Law 95-452, §3(a):
However, the primary argument made by Mr. Maddox against this legislation carries no weight. In his letter of March 24, 2003, to the chairman of this committee, Mr. Maddox contends:
This contention is mistaken in two respects. First, P.L. 104-8 does not set qualifications for the office of Inspector General; it is silent as to qualifications for the office. Second, as Mr. Maddox knows well, the provisions of P.L. 104-8 regarding the Inspector General's Office amended the District Code, and the City Council has the authority and power to amend City Code. In fact, the City Council has amended P.L. 104-8 several times, sometimes at the request of Mr. Maddox himself, such as when he asked this Council to give his officers the authority to carry firearms.
However, if this Council does not pass legislation changing the qualifications of the office, the main problem addressed by this legislation remains. Mr. Maddox has repeatedly demonstrated that he lacks the integrity, trustworthiness, and ability to perform the duties of his office. This Council unanimously passed a resolution of no confidence in Mr. Maddox on February 5, 2002 (Resolution 14-366), and he has since done nothing to regain the confidence of this body. Instead, he has done much to destroy any remaining hope in the Council, the public, or the press that he would perform creditably.
This committee has already compiled a substantial record to demonstrate that Mr. Maddox should be removed from office "for cause," and in the past month Mr. Maddox has only added to that record by giving false and misleading testimony to this committee. As I have testified, within just the past six years two Inspectors General have already been removed "for cause," and neither had performed as poorly as Mr. Maddox. If this committee requests me to do so, I would be glad to supplement the record that it already has by preparing a report detailing the multiple reasons why Mr. Maddox should be removed "for cause."
However, under the current law the Inspector General can be removed only by the Mayor "for cause," and to date the mayor has not indicated that he is in any way displeased with Mr. Maddox's performance. Indeed, it may even be the case that the mayor believes himself to be well served by Mr. Maddox's misuse and abuse of his powers. If the mayor will not do his duty and remove an Inspector General who misuses and abuses the office, there is still one more recourse.
DC Code 2-302.08(f)(5) requires that:
No such peer review has ever been done, although Mr. Maddox, in his testimony to this committee on March 7, 2003, seemed to be under the impression that the peer review was something that he himself could initiate and engage outside entities to do this review. This DC provision parallels, to some extent, the federal provisions contained in Executive Order 12993, regarding "Administrative Allegations Against Inspectors General" (March 21, 1996, 61 F.R. 13043). It is clear that the Office of the Inspector General cannot initiate its own "independent" review, and it certainly cannot choose and engage the entity that should conduct such a review.
This committee must insist that such an independent peer review begin immediately. If the mayor refuses to cooperate with such a review, under the clear language of the law the City Council can proceed on its own. It is my recommendation that it do so. Any honest and impartial peer review of the performance of Mr. Maddox as Inspector General must result in his resignation or his removal from office "for cause."
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