Four years after the D.C. Council passed a "living wage" law, the city's independent auditor says the measure has not been implemented and that D.C. workers "may not be receiving an equitable hourly wage."
The District's top lawyer, Attorney General Peter Nickles, disputed the auditor's findings, under review Thursday by the council, saying in a letter that the administration of Mayor Adrian M. Fenty has begun implementing the law and requires private contractors to pay their employees and subcontractors $12.10 an hour.
The dispute over the city's "living wage" law follows a report this spring by the office of Auditor Deborah K. Nichols that also found that the city failed to ensure that real estate developments involving local tax dollars award more than half of newly created jobs to District residents.
Council members Kwame R. Brown (D-At Large) and Michael Brown (I-At Large), who presided over the hearing, expressed frustration that Fenty's administration has not made the employment measures a priority.
There was no one at the hearing Thursday to defend the administration's position, only the missive from the attorney general. An aide to the council's Economic Development Committee said the panel had confirmed participation from the Department of Employment Services and the office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. But two hours into the hearing, there was no sign of an administration representative.
Nichols said she was surprised that no one from the deputy mayor's office had appeared. She said she was told that their team was too busy to meet in late June because they were preparing for Thursday's hearing.
Brown called the absence "unacceptable."
"We need to hear their plan for moving forward," he said.