**FILE** Acting D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee (Courtesy of MPD via Twitter)
**FILE** Acting D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee (Courtesy of MPD via Twitter)

District leaders say they plan to enjoy some much-needed downtime this summer including reading books that have grown dusty on their shelves as a means of relaxing.
“I will take a few days off, maybe two days in a row, but I don’t expect to take a lot of days for a vacation,” D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee III shared during the 55th Annual Palisades Community Association’s Fourth of July Parade and Picnic. “I have a lot of stuff to do. Even when I am relaxing, I will be on call.”
D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson expressed similar plans.
“The chairman doesn’t get to relax,” he said. “I honestly don’t know if or when I will take time off even during the recess.”
In previous years, the council would start its recess July 15 and resume business in mid-September. But in a year from far normal, the recess will be delayed because D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser didn’t submit her budget to the council until May – something which routinely occurs in March.
The delayed process can be traced to when the District received federal funds provided by the American Rescue Plan in March – funds which much be approved by Congress and the president. As a result, the council won’t hold its first vote on the proposed fiscal year 2021-2022 budget until July 20. The final vote should take place in early August.
Meanwhile, the council has been unable to determine when the summer recess will officially begin. Eventually, they know they’ll have a few weeks for rest and recuperation.
Council member Robert White (D-At Large) said he already has plans for the recess.
“I will spend much of my time with my family,” White said. “I am overdue for a vacation. We will travel some, perhaps go to the beach.”
Council member Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3) said she will take time to recuperate from surgery.
“Other than resting I won’t be doing much,” she said. “I will be taking it easy and visiting relatives in other cities.”
Mendelson hinted he might consider attending a conference of state legislators in August but later rejected the notion.
Many vacationers read books to unwind and District leaders remain no different.
White said he’ll read journalist Chris Matthews’s book “Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit,” biographer Robert Caro’s “The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York” and psychotherapist Malcolm Gladwell’s “Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking.”
Additionally, he said he plans to finish tax law scholar Dorothy A. Brown’s book, “The Whiteness of Wealth: How the Tax System Impoverishes Black Americans – and How We Can Fix It.”
Contee said during his short breaks, he will read entrepreneur Kristin Harper’s “The Heart of a Leader: Fifty-Two Emotional Intelligence Insights to Advance Your Career.”
But for Cheh, she said she plans to only focus on one important text – “the District’s budget.”
In contrast, Mendelson said he will not be mixing business with pleasure.
“I will not be reading the budget,” the chairman said.

James Wright Jr.

James Wright Jr. is the D.C. political reporter for the Washington Informer Newspaper. He has worked for the Washington AFRO-American Newspaper as a reporter, city editor and freelance writer and The Washington...

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