The Washington Post

John Hill to step down at Federal City Council

(Federal City Council)

Washington Business Journal first reported Hill’s announcement, made at the fall meeting of the 170-member group of the city’s business, government and academic elite.

Hill, in an interview this morning, said he gave nearly a year’s notice “out of concern” for how long the group’s hiring process can take. And, he added, it allows him to go looking for a new job without worrying keeping it quiet.

”There are just no secrets in this town,” he said. “If I were to start seriously having conversations with people about other opportunities, it would immediately get out.”

As for those opportunities, Hill ruled out a move to District government. “Nobody’s asked me to, but I don’t think that would be an option for me,” he said.

A former executive director of the federal control board and currently chairman of the D.C. Public Library’s board, Hill, 57, was rumored as a potential city administrator. after Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) won election last fall.

Hill said he expects to return to the private sector. An accountant by training, he has worked for several audit and consulting firms and as internal audit director for Marriott Corp. He currently serves on the board of Chesapeake Lodging Trust, a real-estate fund that invests in upscale hotels.

Hill will leave a formidable legacy at the Federal City Council, which has been best known in recent years for its support of education reform efforts. The Council, for instance, helped shape Mayor Adrian M. Fenty’s plan for assuming direct control of the D.C. Public Schools and has been a steadfast backer of efforts to implement a new high-stakes teacher evaluation system. During Hill’s tenure, the Council also lobbied heavily behind the scenes to fund new library investment and for federal funding for the Metro system.

With more than 10 months remaining, Hill said he is planning to more forward with the Council’s new strategic plan (which I reviewed in some depth in August). It calls for greater combined efforts on the part of business, government and academia to reduce unemployment in the city — starting, Hill says, with an effort to make sure the new community college at the University of the District of Columbia succeeds.

Hill, a frequent if muted critic of city government spending practices, also said Council members are at work on a review of the District’s budget, “to really look at fiscal stability and sustainability.” He did not say whether the Council would issue a report or otherwise publicly present its findings.

”It will be more public than not,” Hill said.

Mike DeBonis covers Congress and national politics for The Washington Post. He previously covered D.C. politics and government from 2007 to 2015.


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