GLAA urges Cropp to create Committee on Health
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DC Council Officers and Committees for Council Period 15

Agenda: 2004, Section II, AIDS and Public Health

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GLAA urges Cropp to create Committee on Health

GAY AND LESBIAN ACTIVISTS ALLIANCE OF WASHINGTON
Fighting for Equal Rights Since 1971
P. O. Box 75265
Washington, D.C. 20013

Monday, November 8, 2004


The Honorable Linda Cropp
Chairman
Council of the District of Columbia
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20004

Dear Chairman Cropp:

Among the committee chair vacancies created by the recent election is the Committee on Human Services, currently chaired by Councilmember Sandy Allen. We urge you to take this occasion to break up this unwieldy committee and create a new Committee on Health.

The Present Committee on Human Services oversees one-fourth of the city's budget. This is simply too large a portfolio for any one council member to handle effectively. We offer one case in point: Prior to the recent appointment of a new director of the HIV/AIDS Administration (HAA), that agency operated without effective management or oversight. This resulted in spending without accountability; breakdown of services; plummeting employee morale; charges of sexual harassment; multiple investigations by federal and local authorities for financial irregularities; an epidemiological system designed to fail; failure to take advantage of funding options that are available; and failure to provide adequate or innovative prevention efforts. (For a detailed discussion of these matters, see GLAA's "Agenda: 2004" at: http://www.glaa.org/archive/2004/agenda2004.shtml#partII) While we are hopeful that the recent management shakeup at HAA and the Department of Health (DOH) will lead to improvements, experience has shown that there is no substitute for vigilance by the D.C. Council.

Splitting up the large present committee will help distribute the workload better and create new opportunities for leadership in continuing the reform of District government. As more than one of our friends on the Council has expressed interest in chairing such a committee, we will defer to your judgment on juggling the committee assignments. We would only urge that you appoint as chair someone committed to doing more aggressive oversight than DOH has received in recent years.

By creating a significant turnover on the Council, District voters have given you and your colleagues an opportunity to write a new chapter in the Council's growth as a force for improved government. We hope you will get an early start as you consider the committee assignments for Council Period 16.


Sincerely,

Kevin Davis
President

cc: Returning and newly elected council members


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