It’s been a bad weekend for Mayor Vince Gray and Council Chairman Kwame Brown. The former, it was revealed by the Post’s Nikita Stewart, has been spending quite a lot of money on senior staff.
Vincent Gray has hired a number of senior advisors at significantly higher dollar values than Adrian Fenty, with several salaries approaching, or meeting, $200,000 per year. Most of the people in these positions are getting paid significantly more than their predecessors. Gerri Mason Hall, the mayor’s chief of staff, is being paid over the bracketed salary for the position at $200,000, which is about what the mayor himself draws from city coffers. For comparison, Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel at the White House made $172,000 per year. While it’s certain that the White House also pays people in prestige and notoriety, it’s a difficult pill to swallow for many city workers facing furlough and layoffs.
And then there’s Kwame Brown’s “fully loaded” Lincoln Navigators. Yes, he has two of them. Mike DeBonis of the Post did some excellent digging into the circumstances around the council chairman’s ride, and boy is this one ugly. The city has now leased a pair of Navigators – yes, that’s plural on purpose – for the Council Chairman, due to the requirement that the vehicle be black-on-black. The city will pay close to $3,600/mo for these two vehicles, which is, with insurance, about double my mortgage payment in Brookland.
Council Chairman Brown was uncharacteristically silent on Twitter yesterday, but that didn’t stop the rise of a new hashtag: #whatshouldkwamedo. Personally? Cancel the contract of the spare unit, and trade the Navigator for the Mayor’s old Smart car. At least that one’s already paid for.