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D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray pulls nominee for elections board

Mayor Vincent C. Gray on Friday withdrew his nominee to chair the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics after questions arose about his eligibility to serve because he had recently moved to the District from New York.

Gray (D) announced Wednesday that he was tapping Robert L. Mallett, a former city administrator and former deputy mayor, to head the three-member elections board.

But D.C. law requires that board members live continuously in the city before serving, as noted by community activist and blogger Dorothy Brizill, who raised the question during the announcement.

It first appeared that the Gray administration would seek a waiver, but it changed course Friday after D.C. Council member Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4) publicly expressed reservations, according to administration staff members. Bowser chairs the Committee on Government Operations, which would have to approve the nomination.

“He is very disappointed that he is unable to send the nomination,” said Linda Wharton Boyd, the mayor’s spokeswoman. “Mallett would have been a tremendous asset to the city and would have provided great leadership.”

The withdrawal of the nomination marks a second misstep for the Gray administration because of residency issues in recent weeks. Gray’s choice for deputy chief of staff admitted to voting in the 2010 District primary although she had moved to Maryland months earlier. Brizill discovered the discrepancy.

Staff writer Mike DeBonis contributed to this report.

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