Mary Cheh launches bill capping Gray appointees

D.C. Councilwoman Mary Cheh introduced a bill Tuesday to cap the number of political appointees Mayor Vincent Gray can make.

Cheh, a professor at the GW Law School, said the bill – which calls for a 100-appointee limit – would serve as a check against nepotism, cronyism, excessive salaries and other personnel issues Gray’s office is being criticized for. Gray’s office has hit a total of 160 appointments.

“The fact that so many personnel errors were able to occur highlights the need for the Council to take a fresh look at our personnel system,” Cheh said in a statement. “I hope that this bill will launch that crucial process.”

The bill also touches on requiring enforcement of background checks on all appointees, limiting salaries and severance payments and outlawing nepotism, or favoritism of friends and relatives.

Cheh said in early September she did not expect the bill would pass before late December or early 2012, adding that she anticipates it will receive strong support.

“It is the system that created a potential for mischief, and I want to reform the system,” she said.

The bill comes one month after the council released a report narrating his administration’s hiring scandals.

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