Mayor-elect Muriel E. Bowser’s transition road show, after stops in Anacostia and her downtown office suite, arrived Wednesday evening on the premises of Gallaudet University, where she greeted well over 100 volunteers for eight transition subcommittees, announced their leaders and unveiled a 56-page transition plan.
First, however, attendees were given briefings on key city issues — on its fiscal situation from Chief Financial Officer Jeffrey S. DeWitt, on public safety from Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier, and on health and human services from Mary’s Center founder Maria Gomez. They heard a pep talk from Carole McDowney, a formerly homeless woman who worked her way from the Bowser campaign into a transition staff job, and a briefing from co-chair Beverly Perry on the schedule and mechanics of the transition. And, from attorney Thorn Pozen, they were walked through a two-page ethics pledge that all transition members are required to sign.
Among the pledge’s provisions: Transition members “may not use their positions as Bowser team members to gain personally or to benefit others at the expense of the team or the District.”
Addressing the crowd, Bowser said she would work to “regain the trust of the residents of the District of Columbia” and called on transition volunteers to help her put — or in many cases, keep — the city government on the right track.
“You’re going to have to resist a few temptations,” Bowser told the crowd. “The temptation to tell me what the problems are — because, trust me, I know where the problems are. I want you to use your experience, knowing where the problems are, to help this transition identify innovative ideas, no matter where they come up, and great people to help us lead this government.”
Bowser said she is looking to her transition to help her fill some 300 city jobs, starting with a city administrator and deputy mayors on down through cabinet appointments and lower-level positions within the government. Fitting the bill, she said, are “people who think outside of the box, who will challenge my own thinking, who will push us every step of the way to do the right things for the District of Columbia.”
The transition plan otherwise is mainly a reformulation of her campaign platform, which is meant to guide the efforts of the eight subcommittees.
Leading those subcommittees are three former mayoral candidates, the leader of two powerful business groups, prominent labor leaders, a university president and several other respected advocates and community leaders:
Affordable Housing: Polly Donaldson, executive director, Transitional Housing Corp.; Carol Thompson Cole, president and chief executive, Venture Philanthropy Partners
Arts and the Creative Economy: Marvin Bowser, brother of the mayor-elect and Leidos executive; Kay Kendall, former executive director, Washington Ballet
Economic Development and Jobs: Jim Dinegar, president and chief executive, Greater Washington Board of Trade; Marie Johns, former director of the Small Business Administration and president, L&L Consulting; LaRuby May, executive director, Vision of Victory Community Development Corp.; Andy Shallal, owner of Busboys & Poets; Harry Wingo, president and chief executive, D.C. Chamber of Commerce; Joslyn Williams, president, Metropolitan Washington Council AFL-CIO
Education: Wayne Frederick, president, Howard University; Michaela English, president and chief executive, Fight for Children
Health, Human Services and Homelessness: Laura Meyers, chief executive, Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington; Louvenia Williams, executive director, Edgewood/Brookland Family Support Collaborative
Open and Good Government/Full Democracy: the five previously announced “leadership co-chairs” — John Boardman, Maria Gomez, Beverly Perry, Alice Rivlin and Mary Terrell
Public Safety: Karma Cottman, executive director, D.C. Coalition Against Domestic Violence; Judith Sandalow, executive director, Children’s Law Center
Transportation, Environment, Sustainability, and Infrastructure: Ted Trabue, managing director, D.C. Sustainable Energy Utility; Tommy Wells, D.C. Council member (D-Ward 6)
More biographical information on the subcommittee leaders can be found on the Bowser transition web site.