An article in yesterday's Metro section reported incorrectly that D.C. City Council member Betty Ann Kane (D-At Large) approved a budget proposal by Council member Charlene Drew Jarvis. Kane said she left the meeting before the proposal was put to a vote.
A committee chaired by D.C. City Council member Charlene Drew Jarvis (D-Ward 4) has drafted a 1986 budget proposal for housing and community development that is full of perks and overseas travel funds for Jarvis and other council members.
The proposal, subject to full council approval, includes $65,000 to finance overseas travel, principally by Jarvis as committee chairman, to help drum up business and trade for the District.
Each of the 13 council members would be entitled to spend $5,000 a year to entertain constituents at the D.C. Convention Center under the proposal. Council members could ask the convention center staff to arrange their out-of-town travel when it is related to city business.
Also, the budget requires that all new promotional pamphlets and material issued by the D.C. government contain the names of all council members.
"I think the whole damn thing is ludicrous," said council member John A. Wilson, a member of the Housing and Community Development Committee, who missed Wednesday's meeting when the budget was approved.
"I do not want any of the items that are there," Wilson said.
The committee's budget recommendations, totaling $83.3 million for housing and economic development programs, also would enable Jarvis to expand the committee's oversight powers and, according to Jarvis and other committee members, put the council on a more equal footing with the administration in analyzing programs. It would include:
* $85,000 for a Productivity Information Network System computer terminal in Jarvis's office, to monitor city programs.
* Creation of two new staff positions for Jarvis's committee, serving as liaisons with the D.C. Housing Finance Agency (HFA) and the Office of Business and Economic Development.
* $50,000 to hire an auditor who would be assigned to the D.C. Auditor's office and whose responsibility would be to keep an eye on city programs for the committee.
* $50,000 in research funds for the committee staff.
"These are measures to improve the oversight capacity of the council committees," Jarvis said. "And I think the council is moving more toward more serious oversight of agency programs than it perhaps has in the past."
However, some of Jarvis's detractors on the council's staff characterize the budget report as another attempt by Jarvis to expand her power base. Earlier this year, she led the fight for council authority over the issuance of bonds by the HFA.
Jarvis, an ambitious politician who challenged Mayor Marion Barry in the 1982 Democratic mayoral primary, said yesterday that the council must become more aggressive and better equipped in reviewing Barry's spending programs. She said that the mayor's budget proposals are designed to enhance the mayor's own political standing.
"This is the chairman of the committee that is trying to oversee the mayor's campaign budget," Jarvis said of her role.
Jarvis also said she saw nothing wrong with her and other council members going on trade missions in light of the overseas trips to China, Korea and Africa that Barry and his aides have taken.
As for the $5,000 a year entertainment allowances, Jarvis said the money would enable council members to show off the convention center to local residents. Jarvis said she disapproves of the building being used almost exclusively for "lavish" events attended by out-of-towners.
The committee report was approved by Council members Frank Smith Jr. (D-Ward 1), William R. Spaulding (D-Ward 5), Betty Ann Kane (D-At Large) and Jarvis.
Spaulding and Kane could not be reached for comment yesterday. Smith defended the committee's action as another step toward enhancing the council's oversight powers.
"I think what you're seeing is an attempt on the part of the council to bring itself more in a partnership with the executive branch in running the city," Smith said.