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|Second Quarter 1998
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DC Appleseed Study Shows Federal Jobs Being Relocated Out of D.C.; New Federal Law Proposed to Reverse Trend
On April 30, DC Appleseed released its latest report, Fulfilling a Promise: Stemming the Flow of Federal Facilities Out of the District of Columbia. The report finds that, since the founding of the District of Columbia, there has been a presumption codified in law that the core functions of the federal government will be located at the seat of government. Over the past two decades. that promise has been broken. as the number of federal jobs in the District has steadily dwindled. DC Appleseeds report examines the causes and effects of the exodus of federal jobs and offices from the District, finding that:
The District (and the region) are losing federal jobs.
The District relies heavily on the federal presence.
Existing federal laws and regulations will do little to prevent further relocations out of D. C..
DC Appleseeds report concludes that the problem is not caused by the downsizing of the federal government, but rather by neglect of the unique economic needs resulting from the District's position as the nations capital. Members of Congress promote the interests of their constituents by influencing the federal government to relocate existing facilities to their home communities. While Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton has done a remarkable job of increasing public awareness of and combating attempted relocations, the Districts limited representation in Congress (particularly in the Senate) makes it a prime target for regular attempts to remove federal jobs and offices.
DC Appleseed recommends adoption of a new federal requirement to reinvigorate the promise made by Congress when the District was created. Specifically, DC Appleseed recommends that the relocation of a substantial federal facility out of the District of Columbia occur only if (1) the effect that the removal will have on the District and its economy is fully examined through formal procedures, and (2) a compelling need for the relocation is demonstrated, taking into account the detrimental effect those removals will have on the District.
As with its other projects, DC Appleseed will actively advocate the adoption of its recommendations. Over the coming months, DC Appleseed will work with others including partners within the environmental and business communities to increase public awareness on this important issue and convince policy makers to support its proposal. DC Appleseed hopes that its federal facilities project will thus begin a dialogue that will result. ultimately, in measures that prevent the federal government from weakening the Districts economy to such an extent that it will be unable to flourish as the federal city envisioned by the Founding Fathers.
DC Appleseed Meets with New Chief Medical Examiner
As reported in the First Quarter 1998 Update, DC Appleseed has recommended changes in the governance of the District's Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME). Specifically, DC Appleseed proposes that the OCME be governed by a commission consisting of members of both public health and criminal justice organizations in the District that rely on the OCMEs services including the Metropolitan Police Department, the Corporation Counsel, the Public Defender, the U.S. Attorney, the Department of Health, and local medical schools.
As part of its advocacy effort, DC Appleseed met with Dr. Jonathan Arden, the Districts new Chief Medical Examiner, on May 14. Dr. Arden told DC Appleseed that Chief Management Office Camille Barnett has taken initial steps in the direction recommended by DC Appleseed, establishing a commission to provide advice regarding management of the OCME. While the commission included representatives of a number of organizations detailed in DC Appleseeds report, it does not include any criminal defense attorneys, who (like prosecutors) rely on the OCMEs findings. DC Appleseeds expressed concern over this imbalance, and Dr. Arden stated that he would raise with Dr. Barnett the possibility of adding a representative from the Public Defender Service. Dr. Arden further invited DC Appleseed to remain involved in working on OCME governance issues.
Recognizing that Dr. Arden's appointment and the creation of an advisory commission are steps in the right direction, DC Appleseed nonetheless continues to believe that a fully empowered oversight commission is needed. In order to promote that recommendation, DC Appleseed expects to meet with Council member Sandra Allen and Dr. Barnett in the months to come.
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