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GOVERNMENT OF THE
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE MAYOR
|OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS
||ONE JUDICIARY SQUARE
441 FOURTH STREET, N.W.
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20001
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE MARCH 15, 1999
||CONTACT: VERA A. JACKSON
(202) 727-0505 (FAX)
MAYOR DECLARES SERVICE STATE OF EMERGENCY
Introduces Bold Legislation to Rapidly Improve Service Delivery
Mayor Anthony A. Williams today declared a "Service State of Emergency" for
the District of Columbia and sent legislation to the D.C. Council that would make long
overdue changes to improve service delivery for District residents.
The Mayor called on the D.C. Council to do their part in making District government
work: "In the November elections the voters sent the message loud and clear: Make
District Government Work Now! The 'Service State of Emergency' is undermining our ability
to find homes for foster children, repair our schools and infrastructure, and give
residents and businesses the services they need to go about their everyday lives. Anything
short of a dramatic overhaul of our government is merely playing at the margins. The
public's patience with inaction and delay is at an end. I call on the Council to come to
the table and help me take decisive steps now to rebuild our government from the ground
The legislation, the Service Improvement Act of 1999, does the following:
- Creates an l8 month waiver of a law that requires Council approval of any contract over
$1 million. This oversight requirement, while well intentioned, has enormously strained
our ability to improve basic services. The legislation authorizes the Mayor, on behalf of
the citizens, to enter into contracts in a timely fashion to deliver critical job training
and health care services to our citizens, to issue licenses and permits, and to issue
grants for our small, local, and disadvantaged owned business.
- Grants an 18 month waiver that authorizes the Mayor, on behalf of the citizens, to
reorganize agencies to speed up service delivery, including fixing roads, cleaning
streets, and delivering critical health care to our residents.
- Allows agency heads to improve operations and speed delivery of services to residents by
granting personnel authority over middle managers.
- In order to create a more efficient government, the Act authorizes the Mayor to provide
financial incentives, such as "early outs" to employees.
- Enhances economic development in our neighborhoods by removing barriers to a high
quality economic development corporation.
- Substantially cuts taxes to small, local, and disadvantaged owned businesses. The
legislation includes small business tax cuts totaling $66.7 million in the first year.
- Establishes a commission on health care that will make recommendations to the D.C.
Council and the Mayor on health care delivery in the district.
This legislation is intended to work together with the Mayor's budget proposal to
provide rapid service improvements for residents and businesses. The Mayor has made
passage of this legislation a top priority, and would like to see the Council take a first
vote on the bill in 30 days.