Term: 4 Years
QUESTION: What would you do specifically to deal with the District's budget crisis? List three programs you would cut or streamline and tell how you would raise additional revenue.
Sharon Pratt Dixon (D)
8227 W. Beach Terr. NW
Lawyer with Sidley and Austin; member, D.C. Democratic State Committee; Democratic National Committee member; chairman, Judicial Council of D.C. Charter, Legislative Affairs Committee; member, Ward 4 Democratic Club, National Women's Political Caucus, Unified Bar of D.C., D.C. Women's Bar Association and American Bar Association Young Lawyers' Committee, chairman, Women in Prisons Committee; vice president of public policy, Potomac Electric Power Co., 1976-89; house counsel, Joint Center for Political Studies, 1970-71; professor, Antioch School of Law.
A: There is no issue of greater importance than the current fiscal crisis affecting our city. I have been briefed by the city's financial advisers, key specialists in investment banking and municipal finance and members of the U.S. House and Senate. They all concur that the District government must move immediately to streamline the bureaucracy and curb the waste. Anyone who states that this problem can be solved by a hiring freeze or by attrition simply does not appreciate the severity of the situation. I would move immediately to conduct a management audit of every department and agency of the District government. This audit would include input from every level of government employee, as well as the consumer, to find out who is producing and who is not, where there is waste and where there is efficiency and productivity. Preliminary studies suggest that there are too many employees at the mid-management level and not enough on the front line. I'm targeting 2,000 non-tenured mid-management positions to be eliminated from the District payroll. It is the only responsible thing to do. If we fail to cut responsibly now, then the chance of furloughs for thousands of front-line workers looms imminent. Once we get our fiscal house in order, we can then pursue an increase in the federal payment. We would then have the dollars we need to improve the educational system and the delivery of other critical services. It is far better to make the tough decisions now rather than risking our future and the future of our children.