D.C. City Council member Nadine P. Winter (D-Ward 6) will become the council's new Public Works Committee chairman, and council member Frank Smith (D-Ward 1) will replace Winter as chairman pro tempore.
Council Chairman David A. Clarke said his colleagues agreed on those changes yesterday during a closed-door meeting at the Washington Convention Center. The council is scheduled to vote on the changes on Jan. 2.
"The effort we made was to provide a little something extra than what they the members had before," Clarke said.
Clarke said that the committee of the whole, which he chairs, will take over the responsibility of reviewing alley closing legislation, which had been one of the main functions of the Public Works Committee.
"Alley closings are close to the heart of ward members and the ward members would like to have a direct hand in them," Clarke said.
Alley closings are also very important to the city's real estate and development community because the added space allows developers to increase the height and size of buildings.
Many of the other changes in committee assignments and office space discussed yesterday were due to the departure of City Council member Jerry A. Moore Jr. (R-At Large), the former Public Works Committee chairman who was defeated in November by Republican Carol Schwartz.
For weeks, some council members lobbied for Moore's committee chairmanship, his office space and his appointment to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. Moore's assignments were divided among three council members, resulting in a shuffling of office space and committee assignments.
Although Winter had also wanted Moore's office, council member William R. Spaulding (D-Ward 5) succeeded in getting the coveted corner office.
Instead of getting the public works chairmanship, council member Betty Ann Kane (D-At-Large) will remain the chairman of the cable television committee and will replace Winter as one of the council's two representatives on the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.
Council member H.R. Crawford (D-Ward 7) had his libraries and recreation committee expanded to include oversight for the D.C. Lottery Board.
In addition to being chairman pro tempore, Smith will be given oversight for the District's professional sports, boxing, wrestling and the D.C. Armory Board. Smith is already chairman of the city's baseball commission, whose major task is to bring major league baseball back to D.C.
Schwartz, now the council's junior member, will sit on the education, government operations, cable and recreation committees. Hilda Mason (Statehood-At Large) will become the transit authority representative.