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Mendelson Changes D.C. Council Committees for New Legislative Session

D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson has reorganized the D.C. Council to reflect the interests of members and has created two subcommittees on the coronavirus pandemic’s effect in the District and redistricting.

“I’ve made these recommendations after meeting with all members individually, at length to discuss reorganizations,” Mendelson said. “I have done my best to consider their priorities and suggestions.”

The departure of Brandon Todd and David Grosso from the council and the arrival of new D.C. Council members Christina Henderson (I-At Large) and Janeese Lewis George (D-Ward 4), fueled changes in the committee structure. Mendelson made it clear last year that freshman legislators such as Henderson, George and D.C. Council member Brooke Pinto (D-Ward 2) will not chair committees because of their inexperience.

The council voted on Jan. 4 to approve the changed committee structure.

The agencies under the Committee on Government Operations that Todd chaired will be merged with the Committee on Facilities and Procurement to become the Committee on Facilities and Government Operations. D.C. Council member Robert White (D-At Large) will chair the committee, Mendelson said.

Grosso chaired the Committee on Education and shared its jurisdiction with the Committee of the Whole, to which all council members belong and Mendelson supervises. However, under the new plan, the education committee has been disbanded and all educational issues will be dealt with by the Committee of the Whole.

D.C. Council member Trayon White (D-Ward 8) chairs the new Committee on Recreation, Libraries and Youth Affairs overseeing the city’s public libraries, cultural agencies and the Office of Cable Television. D.C. Council member Brianne Nadeau (D-Ward 1), chair of the Committee on Human Services, now has oversight over the Board of Ethics and Government Accountability (BEGA) and D.C. Council member Anita Bonds (D-At Large) has gained jurisdiction of the Executive Office of the Mayor under a new Committee on Housing and Executive Administration.

D.C. Council members Vincent Gray (D-Ward 7), Kenyan McDuffie (D-Ward 5) and Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3) retained chairmanships of their committees dealing with health, business and economic development and transportation and environment, respectively. D.C. Council members Charles Allen (D-Ward 6) and Elissa Silverman (I-At Large) keep their committees, Judiciary and Public Safety and Labor and Workforce Development, respectively.

Allen and Gray have been tapped by Mendelson to co-chair a subcommittee on the coronavirus pandemic’s negative economic effect in the District. The chairman also appointed Silverman to lead a subcommittee addressing changes to ward and advisory neighborhood commission boundaries as a result of the 2020 census.

Allen said he embraces his new responsibilities.

“I’m grateful for the trust to continue our work at the council on the important and urgent issues of public safety: ending gun violence, moving forward non-law enforcement solutions better suited to meet community needs, reducing recidivism through opportunity and strengthening our emergency response infrastructure,” he said. “I look forward to working with my friend and co-chair, Gray, and in partnership with Mayor Muriel Bowser and her team as we work together for the common goal of the District’s strong recovery.”

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