On Tuesday, July 12th, the D.C. Council held its last legislative session before the summer recess (July 15th to September 15th). The Council confirmed several key Mayoral nominees, including Ronald Young (PR 19-173) and Marta Berkley (PR 19-174) to serve on the Rental Housing Commission. All three seats on the Rental Housing Commission are now filled for the first time in 18 months. Mr. Young and Ms. Berkley will serve alongside current Chairperson Peter Szegedy-Maszak, who will no longer have “single member quorum” authority.
The Council also confirmed Acting Director John E. Hall (PR 19-227) to serve as the Director of the Department of Housing and Community Development, and Sandra Mattavous-Frye (PR 19-182) to serve as the People’s Counsel. The responsibilities of the Office the People’s Counsel (OPC) include advocating for District’s utility rate-payers regarding rate-increase cases before the Public Service Commission. Due to the “individual metering” of previously master-metered buildings, an increasing number of tenants in the District are now “rate-payers,” meaning they are direct customers of the utility companies. The OTA works with the OPC on a range of policy matters affecting District renters.
Among other actions taken yesterday by the Council, certain changes were made regarding the chairperson in charge of a number of the Council’s Committees. As a result of these changes: Mary Cheh (Ward 3) will now chair the Committee on Public Works, Transportation and the Environment; Muriel Bowser (Ward 4) will now chair the Committee on Government Operations; Tommy Wells (Ward 6) will now chair the Committee on Libraries, Parks and Recreation; and Vincent Orange (At-Large) will now chair a new Committee on Small Business Development. The other Committee chairs remain the same:
1. Kwame Brown (Chair) - Committee of the Whole (Education, Economic Development)
2. Jim Graham (Ward 1) - Human Services
3. Jack Evans (Ward 2) - Finance and Revenue
4. Yvette Alexander (Ward 7) - Public Services and Consumer Affairs
5. Marion Barry (Ward 8) - Aging and Community Affairs
6. David Catania (At-Large) - Health
7. Phil Mendelson (At-Large) – Judiciary (formerly Public Safety and the Judiciary)
8. Michael A. Brown (At-Large) - Housing and Workforce Development
The jurisdiction of the Committee on Housing and Workforce Development was expanded to include the University of the District of Columbia and the Community College of the District of Columbia.