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ANC voted, never moved

(Published March 8, 1999)


Staff Writer

A computer, a phone, a desk and years worth of records and files belonging to the D.C. government are locked in a small room at MedLink Hospital on Capitol Hill. Although Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6A voted to vacate the office by Dec. 31 of last year, their belongings are still sitting in the office it occupied since 1996. Hospital management changed the locks Jan. 8.

While ANC chairman Daniel Pernell complained to D.C. Councilman David Catania, R-At large, at a recent council hearing that the ANC had been locked out, hospital officials say the commission is welcome to come get its belongings any time. All they have to do is get the key from the hospitalís lawyer, said hospital spokeswoman Linda Grigsby.

After several meetings with commissioners to confirm that they were indeed planning to move out, attorney John Lunsford notified all commissioners and commissioners-elect by letter that they would have to see him for access to the room after Jan. 8.

"Between Dec. 31 and Jan. 8, they made no effort to move out or even discuss this with us," Grigsby said.

The commission moved into the office in 1996, at the request of then-Ward 6 Councilman Harold Brazil, Grigsby said.

The ANC signed a one-year rent-free lease and when it expired, requested an extension on a month-to-month basis. That request was granted, Grigsby said, but the ANC was repeatedly told it would eventually have to move out.

"We have people lined up waiting for that space," she said. "The ANC knew from the very beginning that this was supposed to be a short-term arrangement."

In fact, commissioners decided in December to vacate the office, rent a post office box and put the equipment in storage, Pernell said. But the 14-member commission changed over almost completely in January and the move-out never happened. The commission has been meeting at St. James Episcopal Church, next door, while commissioners look for permanent office space.

Pernell said he has had no contact with MedLink officials and is referring all calls about the matter to Catania.

Copyright 1999, The Common Denominator