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Government and People
COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE, COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY AND
COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS
STATEMENT OF JOHN M. DERRICK, PAST CHAIR, GREATER
WASHINGTON BOARD OF TRADE
Madam Chair and members of the Committee: I am John M. Derrick, a past chair of the Greater Washington Board of Trade, the region's largest network of business and nonprofit leaders and the only such network representing all business sectors. I am the Chairman of Pepco Holdings, which is headquartered here in the District of Columbia. Also, I am a native Washingtonian and a resident of Ward Three. The views I express today are specifically those of the Board of Trade.
I am here today to urge you to approve the extension of Metropolitan Police Chief Ramseys contract and accompanying pay and retirement changes. We urge you to do so expeditiously and on terms that reflect his excellent performance in the job to date and that are commensurate with the compensation of other police chiefs and with sound government and business practice.
The Board of Trade's Executive Committee specifically considered last week whether the Board should endorse Chief Ramsey. The answer, unhesitatingly and without dissent, was that we should.
We believe that Chief Ramsey has done an excellent job. Many reports have credited him for upgrading the training on firearms, upgrading vehicles and communication equipment, as well as recruiting a more educated force.
He has led the Metropolitan Police in what must be one of its most difficult times: the post-September 11 period. Perhaps only the post-1968 riot period could have been more difficult or sensitive. Chief Ramsey has forged effective relations with the Federal police forces and intelligence agencies and with other local jurisdictions.
In the handling of major and minor demonstrations, with the potential for destruction that we saw displayed in Seattle, Chief Ramsey has brought himself and the Department international renown. He is widely emulated and consulted for his approach on these events, combining outreach to protesters and understanding of their right to protest along with the establishment of reasonable safeguards to public safety and with firm, no-nonsense response to acts of violence. His presence on the streets during tense confrontations has epitomized his leadership on these important events. He has saved the city and this region from major damage and injury and in the process enhanced our reputation as a city worthy of being the capital of democracy.
Throughout his term, he has reached out to the local business community. Particularly in advance of major planned protests and with the advent of terrorist threat alerts, Chief Ramsey has initiated briefings for business and nonprofit organizations. He has personally led many of the briefings and his advice is unfailingly direct and open, based on facts and expertise and devoid of puffery and platitudes.
We are concerned, as we know you are, about the increase in homicides. And we, too, want to make sure that as many officers as possible are patrolling on the streets and in the city's residential neighborhoods, particularly those neighborhoods that experience the most crime. And we commend you for maintaining vigorous oversight of the city's public safety efforts.
We know that Chief Ramsey wants to see improvements in these areas, too. And we see him working, with some success, on all of them.
The bottom line is this: since Chief Ramsey has taken over, we have had a police force that is honest, hard-working, exhibiting high professional standards and internationally recognized in its crowd-handling capacities.
He deserves a raise, and he deserves this government's support. Had he simply received the percent increases given to officers in his department since his arrival, his salary today would exceed what the Mayor has proposed to pay him only in the future.
Being businesspeople, we at the Board of Trade are familiar with compensation packages that are based on performance. We think it is appropriate that Chief Ramsey's compensation be tied in some way to performance. But how it is tied to performance is crucial.
It is wholly appropriate to offer a chief executive like Chief Ramsey, a bonus based on performance. Businesses do that all the time. But such a bonus is placed on top of guaranteed base level compensation. It would be inappropriate and unacceptable to nearly all the executives I know to have base compensation tied to performance.
Only a few highly motivated managers dedicate their careers to the front line of public service, especially standouts like Chief Ramsey. We would be hard-pressed to find anyone as good.
We urge you to question him, to push and to incent him and the Metropolitan Police to even better performance, to keep up your close scrutiny of the Department and law enforcement in the city.
But today, we urge you to endorse Chief Ramsey for another term and to do so quickly and enthusiastically.
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