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Government of the District of Columbia
STATEMENT BY MAYOR WILLIAMS ON COURT DECISION REGARDING QUALIFICATIONS FOR INSPECTOR GENERAL
(Washington, DC) In response to the ruling today by Superior Court Judge John M. Campbell in Cropp v. Williams holding invalid legislation passed by the City Council to remove the Inspector General, Mayor Anthony A. Williams said that he was pleased with the Court’s decision.
"The Court has recognized the importance of the separation of powers ideals that I fought to preserve in this lawsuit," said Mayor Williams. "Now that the Court has confirmed this important principle, I look forward to working with the Council in our respective roles in a spirit of cooperation."
Judge Campbell ruled that in this case, "the Inspector General statute vests the power to remove the incumbent for ‘good cause’ only, with the Mayor as the appointing executive. It does not grant that power – for good cause, excellent cause, exigent cause, or any other cause – to the Council. Nor could any statute do so, given the separated powers of our government."
Judge Campbell’s opinion held that, "The Council seeks a power that is not assigned to it: to remove an appointed officeholder, by imposing stricter job qualifications, because it thinks the circumstances justify such action. That, however, is affirmatively not the legislature’s decision to make. Instead, it is a power granted exclusively to the executive." The opinion concluded that "In the end, having considered all of the parties’ arguments, it is my judgment that the section of the (Council-passed) 2003 IG Act that applies to the incumbent cannot survive separation of powers scrutiny . . . . I conclude that the provision at issue encroaches on a key part of the Mayor’s authority, namely his appointment and removal power."
Mayor Williams reiterated that he had no objection to the Council’s amending the requirements for the position of Inspector General prospectively. "All along, I have pointed out that the Council’s action had the effect of removing an incumbent from office, thereby exercising a fundamentally executive function. The Court today has agreed."
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