Catania admonishes Corp. Counsel for non-enforcement of Mayor's Executive Order on Human Rights
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Catania admonishes Corp. Counsel for non-enforcement of Mayor's Executive Order on Human Rights

COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20001

DAVID A. CATANIA
Councilmember-At-Large
Chairperson, Committee on Public Services

July 16, 2001

William R. Rigsby [sic, Robert Rigsby]
Corporation Counsel
441 4th Street, NW; Suite 1060N
Washington, DC 20001

Dear Mr. Rigsby:

It has come to my attention that your office has not been enforcing the Mayor's Executive Order on Human Rights, 2000-131, dated August 21, 2000. That order directs that all statements, announcements, forms, or directives issued by the government of the District of Columbia declare the District's nondiscrimination policy by including the following language:

NOTICE OF NON-DISCRIMINATION

In accordance with the D.C. Human Rights Act of 1977, as amended, D.C. Code section 1-2501 et seq., ("the Act") the District of Columbia does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national original, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, familial status, family responsibilities, matriculation, political affiliation, disability, source of income, or place of residence or business. Discrimination in violation of the Act will not be tolerated. Violators will be subject to disciplinary action (emphasis added).

The record demonstrates that official documents are ignoring this Executive Order and that your office is not enforcing the Executive Order.

A study of statements issued by District government departments by the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, D.C. was provided to this office and to yours in a letter dated July 12, 2001. The specific instances do not necessarily bear repetition, but my attention was drawn to the scope of the problem: it exists across entirely unrelated departments in this government. The Metropolitan Police Department, Child and Family Services, and the Board of Education cover a broad spectrum of services and the diversity of their missions reflects the unfortunate depth of this problem.

I urge the Office of the Corporation Counsel to fulfill its duty to enforce Order 2000-131 and clarify that this city does not tolerate discrimination of its citizens.

Two vital issues remain. First, the Office of the Corporation Counsel needs to find a remedy for past violations of this Executive Order. Second, a structure needs to be put in place to ensure that this problem does not repeat itself in the future.

I look forward to your response on how both objectives will be accomplished.

Sincerely yours,

David A. Catania Councilmember (At-Large)

cc: Charles Holman, Office of Human Rights
Chief Charles Ramsey, Metropolitan Police Department


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