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Posted at 06:56 PM ET, 10/27/2009

Council will send delegation to meet Fenty

The D.C. Council plans to send a five-member delegation to meet with Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) to discuss how the two sides can end the showdown over the reappointment of the director of parks and recreation.

Fenty reappointed Ximena Hartsock on Friday as interim director, three weeks after the council voted to remove her from office. Fenty's decision outraged several council members, some of whom are demanding she be removed from office immediately.

Earlier today, council Chairman Vincent C. Gray (D) convened a closed-door meeting with council members to try to decide how to respond to Fenty's decision. According to sources familiar with the meeting, who asked not to be identified because it was supposed to be confidential, the council members are divided on how to proceed.

Gray, the sources said, floated a proposal that would allow Hartsock to remain as director until mid-November. Other members want Hartsock removed from office immediately, but they might be stymied because other members believe they are powerless to oust her.

The D.C. code states, "No person shall serve in an acting capacity in a position that is required by law to be filled by Mayoral appointment without the advice and consent of the Council." However, another section of the code cited by Hartsock supporters suggests that she can remain in a "holdover position" for up to 180 days after the expiration of her term.

"What this has pointed out is there are some ambiguities that need to be strengthened in terms of the confirmation process and how it unfolds," said council member Harry Thomas Jr. (D-Ward 5), chairman of the Committee on Libraries, Parks and Recreation.

Thomas declined further comment. But sources say the meeting broke up without any final resolution on how the council plans to proceed.

They did agree, however, to extend an olive branch to Fenty by sending a delegation to see if a compromise can be reached. The delegation will include Gray as well as two council members who voted to confirm Hartsock as well as two who voted against her, one of whom will be Thomas.

-- Tim Craig and Nikita Stewart

By  |  06:56 PM ET, 10/27/2009

Categories:  Tim Craig

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