After months of delay, Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) is on the cusp of naming appointees to a newly established ethics board, an aide said Monday.
The establishment of the Board of Ethics and Government Accountability, set to start policing the city government on Oct. 1, has been threatened by difficulties and delays in naming its three members.
But spokesman Pedro Ribeiro said that Gray has identified several candidates who, pending a thorough vetting, will be announced “very soon.”
How soon — given that, as far back as mid-March, Gray expected to be “announcing nominees quickly”?
”Soon,” said Ribeiro.
But not soon enough for D.C. Council member Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4), who informed her colleagues Friday that she is seeking to allow the council to directly appoint one of the board’s three members.
The legislation is set to be voted on at Tuesday’s council meeting.
A split mayor-council appointed board had previously been considered during the development of the ethics overhaul the council passed earlier this year, but the final legislation provided for members all to be nominated by the mayor and confirmed by the council.
Bowser’s bill would also address concerns offered by the Board of Elections and Ethics and its Office of Campaign Finance over whether it can enforce conflict of interest laws in the months before the new board takes over.
Ribeiro said Gray’ intention is to present a full slate of nominees to the three-member board. Moving members over from the existing Board of Elections and Ethics “is being considered,” Ribeiro said, but Gray’s intention is to present a replacement for any member transferred from the existing panel, which is set to become simply the Board of Elections.
The slow-moving process is justified, Ribeiro said: “It’s more important to get it right than to do it quickly.”