Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) said a new Washington Post poll that shows a significant decline in his popularity and other measures of city government did not show anything he didn’t know.
He said “hiring decisions” his administration made earlier in the year remain an issue.
“The issues that we’ve been dealing with around hiring decisions continue to be things that we’re trying to address,” said Gray, who took office in January after unseating Adrian M. Fenty. “Much of the stuff we’re talking about happened either during the campaign or afterwards, and we continue to try to address those. We continue to run this government. We’re focusing every day on how this government runs.”
Several staff members were fired or resigned in the wake of criticism over high salaries, overspending, nepotism and poor vetting. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, a congressional committee and the D.C. Council have separate investigations into allegations by fired employee and former mayoral candidate Sulaimon Brown that he was paid and hired into a city job in return for verbal attacks on Fenty on the campaign trail last year. Gray has denied the allegations.
“I realize that this is a story that people want to continue to focus on, but there’s other things going on in this city. This city is actually running quite well,” Gray said. “I can go down virtually every area of this government and show you improvements that are being made.”
The mayor pointed to the city’s homicide rate, noting that there were 18 murders in June of last year. So far this month, there have been six, he said.
Gray said he wished the media would highlight the improvements prominently, instead of “page B5 of some particular paper,” a reference to The Washington Post.
He also pointed to improvements in education that were documented “in one of the papers,” a reference to a Washington Post article on the poll’s findings that 53 percent of parents with children in D.C. Public Schools have a positive view of the school system.
That story appeared on A1 Wednesday.