The D.C. City Council delayed confirmation this week of Herbert Simmons Jr. as director of the city Office of Consumer Protection after two council members criticized his official conduct as acting head of the office since August.
Council member Willie J. Hardy (D-Ward 7) spearheaded the opposition to Simmons, declaring in a memorandum that "he is not qualified to hold such a sensitive position" and that he "thumbed his nose at this council" in preparing for his confirmation hearing.
Hardy contended that Simmons ignored, until the last minute, a council directive that he choose three supporters to testify in his behalf. Told that this was important, he finally brought two persons to the hearing.
Wilhelmina J. Rolark (D-Ward 8), chairman of the council consumer affairs committee, said she wanted to explore reports that morale in the long-troubled office had sagged since Simmons arrived. She said Simmons fired three office employes, including Dick Jones, head of home services. Jones is contesting his dismissal.
Rolark said she was prepared to ask the council, sitting Monday as a committee, to table the Simmons nomination. Before she did so, Nadine P. Winter (D-Ward 6), council chairman pro tem, asked council members to let her withdraw Simmons' name. The council approved by a voice vote.
Simmons, 36, a lawyer and former executive director of the National Consumer Protection Center, was chosen for the $38,000-a-year post on Aug. 6 by Mayor Marion Barry. A second mayoral nomination announced that day, of William R. Ford to head the city Labor Department, was approved by the council without dissent.
The legal requirement that the council confirm those chosen by the mayor to head city departments and agencies went into effect earlier this year. Simmon's nomination is the first to encounter serious opposition.