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Government and People
|Council of the District of
1320 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20004
August 21, 2009
Peter J. Nickles, Esq.
Dear Mr. Nickles:
I write with regard to three statements in the "Declaration of Peter J. Nickles" filed August 12, 2009 in the cases of Rayming Chang, et al. v. Charles Ramsey, et al. and Jeffrey Barham, et al. v. Charles Ramsey, et al.
Paragraph 16 of the Declaration states, in part: "The Fenty administration made substantial efforts to have money allocated for a District-wide document management system that also would have addressed OAG document management needs and have provided resources for our attorneys. These efforts, however, were not supported by the Council for the District of Columbia and the funds were redirected to other projects. The Office still suffers from limitations on staffing and support which has been exacerbated by the current fiscal crisis facing the City."
As you are aware, the Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary (formerly called the Committee on the Judiciary) has direct oversight of the Office of the Attorney General and its operations. The issue of OAG document management is relevant to this oversight. However, the need for a new document management system has not been brought to our attention in the course of our oversight hearings.
I attach to this letter your testimony regarding our consideration of the FY 2009 and FY 2010 budgets. There are no references in either statement regarding the need for a new document management system or funding related thereto. The April 4, 2008 testimony concludes: "We are grateful that the Mayor, you Chairperson Mendelson, the Committee, and the Council support our important work and firmly believe that this budget allows us to continue to provide the District and its residents, the highest quality of legal service." The March 26, 2009 statement concludes: "We are grateful that the Mayor, the Committee, and the Council support our important work and that this budget allows us to continue our operations."
On page A-162 of the FY 2009 Proposed Budget and Financial Plan for the Office of the Attorney General, there is a one-line entry for the OAG's budget under "Policy Initiatives"; "Implement electronic content management system (one-time): 400" — meaning $400.000. This initiative appears relevant to the statements in the declaration regarding the need for a document management system. Further, the proposed $400,000 funding was left intact by the Council; it is funded in the current fiscal year.
Paragraph 17 of the Declaration states, in part: "I am disappointed to report that for Fiscal Year 2009 the Council reduced the OAG budget by over two million dollars, and for Fiscal Year 2010, the Council has reduced the OAG budget further by almost three million dollars, which certainly will result in a reduction in force of present staff."
These statements are also incorrect. In May 2008, the Council adopted the Mayor's FY 2009 budget request for the Office of the Attorney General without reducing it one cent. Due to declining revenues affected by the national economy, however, the Mayor proposed a revised FY 2009 budget in October. In November 2008, the Council adopted the Mayor's revised FY 2009 request for the Office of the Attorney General without reducing it one cent.
The Council's actions regarding the FY 2010 budget are more complicated, but the total OAG budget will be about 3.5% greater than FY 2009. This increase includes $315,000 which the Council added — above the Mayor's request — to fund non-personnel expenses related to litigation support. The Council did reduce aspects of the Mayor's proposal, but those reductions total $965,000 — not $3 million — of which about two-thirds relates to cutting the funding for additional attorneys in the general counsel offices of four separate agencies. The bottom line is that the Council did not cut $3 million from the OAG's FY 2010 budget, the OAG's budget will grow in FY 2010, and the OAG's litigation support budget will grow.
Paragraph 20 of the Declaration states: "I note from the Declaration of Thomas Koger that this Office attempted to obtain the missing J.O.C.C. running resume by other means. . . . Unfortunately, OAG was denied access to these materials. . . ." I am informed by our General Counsel that the Council made available to Tom Koger all of the documents from the Committee on the Judiciary investigation (save for a few never released from executive session that are not relevant to this discovery dispute). We made boxes of material available to Mr. Koger who, I believe, had an intern of paralegal from OAG come to review them in the Council Secretary's office. In sum, OAG was not denied access to the materials.
It is important that these statements to the Court in the August 12th Declaration be correct.
Phil Mendelson, Chairman
enc. April 4, 2008 and March 26, 2009 testimony
cc: Daniel C. Schwartz, Esq.
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