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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

ANC votes to delay chair election, stalling Causey’s replacement following resignation

Sage Russell | Staff Photographer
Commissioners delayed the vote after Commissioner Evelyn Hudson was unable to join the meeting in person or through video.

Members of a local governing body delayed their vote to elect a new chair Wednesday after the former chair resigned from his post following The Hatchet’s reporting on his past criminal history. 

Members of the Foggy Bottom and West End Advisory Neighborhood Commission voted to push back the election of a new chair to a special meeting after Chair Joel Causey announced he was resigning from the position Friday to avoid being a “distraction” to the commission’s work. The ANC must elect a new chair within 30 days of Causey’s resignation, per D.C. law.

Commissioners also approved GW’s application to expand community members’ access to Lerner Health and Wellness Center, discussed Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Fiscal Year 2024 budget and approved resolutions for the D.C. Council.

Here are some of the meeting’s highlights:

Commissioners delay chair election after Causey’s resignation
Commissioners voted to delay the election of a new chair in a 6-2 vote following Joel Causey’s resignation from the position after The Hatchet reported that he is registered as a sex offender in Florida.

Commissioners delayed the vote after Commissioner Evelyn Hudson was unable to join the meeting in person or through video. Commissioners said Hudson needed to be visibly present, either via video or in person, to be counted as present and delayed the vote to give her an opportunity to appear at a later date. 

Causey said she could not access the meeting by herself because of complications from a disability. Vice Chair Jim Malec, who will perform the chair’s duties until the election of a new chair, said commissioners should table the vote for a later date because of confusion over the requirements of online voting.

“The right thing to do is actually to table this at this point, because we do not know specifically what the rule is on this and we should find out, get the proper guidance and then move forward with clarity and confidence that we’re acting in the right way,” Malec said.

Causey and Commissioner Ed Comer opposed delaying the motion.

Commissioners vote to expand community Lerner Health and Wellness Center use
Commissioners voted 7-0 to allow an additional 250 community members to permanently access Lerner after officials filed an application with the D.C. Zoning Commission to modify the center’s conditions of approval. 

GW Community Relations Director Kevin Days said officials want to give Foggy Bottom community members and full-time students at the University’s Virginia Science and Technology Campus permanent access to Lerner. Days initially introduced the request at last month’s ANC meeting and said at the time that the University would file it in the “upcoming weeks.”

Days said the new conditions mandate that users are 18 years old or older and that members of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows – a fraternal organization located on the corner of 24th and G streets – access the gym.

Days said the temporary application currently permitting community members access to Lerner will expire June 30 after its initial 2014 approval.

Officials reintroduced the Friends of Foggy Bottom program Jan. 30 after a three-year pandemic-related hiatus, giving community members located in Foggy Bottom and the area surrounding the Mount Vernon Campus access to Gelman and Eckles libraries and Lerner for an initial fee of $15. Community members registered for the program must also pay an additional $53 every month for a Lerner membership, according to the center’s website.

Days added the University is working on reinstating their audit program, which allows senior citizens to take courses through the University at a discount.

City administrators talk Bowser Fiscal Year 2024 budget proposals
City Administrator Kevin Donahue said Bowser submitted a $19.7 billion operating budget for Fiscal Year 2024, $10.6 billion of which goes toward local initiatives. 

Donahue said $6.29 billion of Bowser’s operating budget goes toward human support services, which fund Medicaid, homeless services and behavioral health, and allocates $3.98 billion for public education. 

The six-year capital budget, which funds the construction of schools, libraries and recreation centers between 2024 and 2029, allocates $5.6 billion for operations and infrastructure, which includes funding to build and renovate schools and replace HVAC systems. The budget allocates $55 million to complete renovations for the School Without Walls, adding a standalone gym and three special education classrooms. 

The budget designates $1.7 million to establish a care coordination team in the Department of Behavioral Health to assist residents in crisis without requiring the Metropolitan Police Department to respond. 

Donahue added the District will implement a paramedic school to help D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services hire D.C.-based paramedics to “principal positions.”

Donahue said in order to process housing vouchers for unhoused residents, the Department of Behavioral Health should remove the requirement that all social workers have a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Commissioner Yannik Omictin said the current lack of social workers and case managers precludes unhoused residents from receiving housing, even after they receive vouchers for permanent housing. 

Commissioners call on Council to fund bills, maintain employment staff
Commissioners unanimously approved resolutions requesting the D.C. Council ensures wage transparency in the Department of Employment Services, oversight over the D.C. Housing Authority’s housing voucher program and upgrades to infrastructure in Foggy Bottom.

Commissioners also approved a resolution that opposes the proposed cutting of three D.C. Circulator routes, including four bus stops in Foggy Bottom, after a neighboring ANC also approved the measure. 

The ANC approved a resolution opposing the elimination of the Criminal Code Revision Commission in a 5-2 vote, with Comer and Commissioner Kim Courtney abstaining. The resolution states the commission plays a “critical role” in advising the D.C. Council on the District’s revised criminal code, which members of Congress and President Joe Biden overturned in March over concerns about the city’s crime rates and proposed crime policies. 

Commissioners voted 4-1-2 to approve a letter that emphasizes five ANC priorities for Bowser’s development of the FY24 budget, including funding Baby Bonds – a plan that provides low-income children with up to $25,000 by the time they reach adulthood –  the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, the B24-429 Metro for DC Amendment Act of 2021 and the Local Residents Voting Rights Act. The resolution also requests officials reallocate money to compensate employees who city officials excluded from pandemic relief funds. 

Grace Chinowsky and Nick Pasion contributed reporting.

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About the Contributor
Erika Filter, News Editor
Erika Filter is a senior majoring in international affairs from Carson City, Nevada. She leads the Metro beat as one of The Hatchet's 2023-2024 news editors and previously served as the assistant news editor for the Student Government beat.
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