Mayor Adrian M. Fenty swore in Errol R. Arthur as chairman of the District's Board of Elections and Ethics yesterday, and Council member Carol Schwartz is blasting him for it.
Arthur is a partner at Arthur and Arthur, PLLC, a law practice that handles criminal, family and civil cases in the District of Columbia and Maryland and joined the board in April.
Schwartz says she has no problem with Arthur--"what I know of him, I like"-- but her concern is about timing and the replacement of Charles Lowery, whom the mayor appointed as chair a year ago.
"I know that the Mayor has the lawful ability to change leaders, but at this time, why would he? We are on the verge of what will be a historic election with an expected record turnout, and already, on June 1st, the District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics is losing its longtime Executive Director, Alice Miller, who has served in that position for 12 years. I would think that the Mayor would be more concerned about stabilizing this agency and its Board rather than further upsetting the apple cart."
Schwartz points out that Arthur has been on the board for five weeks and has attended one Board meeting.
"Mr. Lowery, on the other hand, was appointed to be a member of the Board in 2004, and then appointed as Chair by Mayor Fenty in 2007."
She adds that the she hopes the mayor will reconsider.
Yesterday, Fenty praised Arthur, whose background includes serving as a staff attorney for the District's Public Defender Service. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland and Howard University's law school.
"I am grateful for Errol Arthur's commitment to serve the residents of the District of Columbia by upholding the laws that ensure our success as a democratic society," Fenty said in a statement yesterday.
We'll see if the mayor will say more or respond to Schwartz's suggestion.