A special high-level task force composed of White House, congressional and D.C. officials is likely to recommend changes in the city's home-rule charter that would lessen the role now played by Congress and the President in the District's law-making process.
The proposed changes would come in areas that city officials have frequently said are cumbersome, seldom used, restrictive and responsible for delays of up to four months between the time laws are approved by the City Council and the time those measures go into effect.
One of the areas in which a change is likely to be asked is the requirement that all laws passed by the Council must undergo a 30-day layover during which Congress can, by a majority vote of both houses, reject the legislation. During the first two years of home rule, not one of the 230 laws passed by the COuncil was thrown out.
Because the 30 days must be days when both houses of Congress are in session, the delay caused by the layover period is usually about eight weeks and, at times, has reached four months.
Jim Dyke, an aide to Vice President Mondale, said yesterday that there appears to be a consensus among persons on the 14-member task force that the time period for Congressional review should be shortened and made more definite.
Dyke said the task force also appeared near agreement on discarding another section of the home rule charter which gives the President authority to reverse or sustain City Council overrides of mayoral vetoes.
Since taking office Jan. 20, President Carter has only once been faced with that option. Carter chose not to reverse the Council's overide of Mayor Walter E. Washington's veto of legislation taking the administration of D.C. General Hospital away from the Department of Human Resources. The power was used only three times by President Ford.
Dyke said that, based on yesterday's task force meeting, it appeared both proposals for changes in the charter would be contained in the recommendations sent to Carter in July. Dyke said he believes both measures stand a good chance of being approved by Congress.
The task force is not likely to recommend changes in that part of the home rule charter that provides for appointment of a WHite House level administrator to oversee provision of vital services - including police - to the so-called federal enclave, the area of the city where most federal buildings and monuments are located.
This provision was added to the home-rule bill shortly before passage in 1973 to appease home rule opponents. No administrator has ever been appointed. Some city officials believe the post, if filled, could rival that of some elected city officials in power.
Dyke said yesterday that rather than changing the law, the group believed assurances by the president that the post would not be filled would be more effective. A 1975 effort to repeal the legislation was defeated on a 201-150 House vote.
The task force postponed final discussion on whether the selection of D.C. judges, who are now appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate, should be transferred to the mayor.