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ANC reforms clear council

(Published March 13, 2000)


Staff Writer

The D.C. City Council unanimously approved sweeping changes in the Advisory Neighborhood Commission legislation that will alter how city agencies treat the commissions and how the ANCs function.

The changes will give the ANCs more clout before some of the city boards and agencies where they regularly testify, but will also ensure the commissions remain fiscally responsible by imposing measures to ensure a commission doesnít become delinquent in filing its required quarterly financial reports.

For the past year Councilman David Catania, R-At large, has made it the mission of his Committee on Local and Regional Affairs to fix the often-troubled ANCs. When the committee held comprehensive oversight hearings last year, 13 of the cityís 37 commissions were delinquent in their quarterly filings and half a dozen were so far behind that their funding had been cut off by the city. Some of those didnít even have enough sitting commissioners to make the quorum necessary to vote on treasurersí reports or minutes of meetings, which are required in the quarterly filings.

At last monthís oversight hearings, Catania noted that the number of delinquent ANCs has dropped to just one.

A series of audits over the past several years found many ANCs remiss in their financial reporting practices and some instances of theft of city funds by commissioners. The reports badly damaged the reputation of the ANCs and Congress even threatened to deny funding the ANCs for fiscal 1999.

The bill, which is expected to sail through control board and congressional approval, also establishes a new Office of the Advisory Neighborhood Commissions to assist the ANCs with technical and financial matters. Every executive agency and independent board or commission will now be required to appoint a liaison to deal specifically with the ANCs.

Copyright 2000, The Common Denominator