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Clarification of Determination of Compensation of Chief Financial Officer of District of Columbia

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Ms. NORTON. Mr. Speaker, I associate myself with the remarks of the chairman.

I rise in support of this important legislation, with special appreciation to Majority Leader Eric Cantor and particularly to Chairman Issa and Ranking Member Cummings for quickly marking up this bill so that it could come to the floor expeditiously, as the District is in the throes of hiring a new CFO. I will have more to say on their indispensable support presently.

The District of Columbia's independent chief financial officer is a unique office in the United States created by Congress. The city cannot obligate or expend funds without the CFO's approval, and the CFO can only be terminated for cause.

Today's bill, which contains a formula developed by Chairman Issa, is an important example of the chairman's continuing commitment to assist the city in improving and safeguarding its vital operations.

When the current CFO announced his retirement earlier this year, the Mayor formed a CFO search committee, led by Alice Rivlin, the former head of the D.C. Financial Control Board, the Office of Management and Budget, and the Congressional Budget Office, and former Mayor Anthony Williams.

The search committee determined that the allowable compensation that is in the bill is necessary for the recruitment and retention of a CFO, but the District government does not have the authority under the Home Rule Act to alter the CFO's compensation. This bill would amend the Home Rule Act to permit the D.C. government to pay its CFO an amount that may not exceed the pay of members of the Senior Executive Service in agencies with an Office of Personnel Management-certified appraisal system.

Currently, the Home Rule Act sets the CFO's pay at the basic pay for level I of the executive schedule. The bill's compensation standard, as with the term of an interim CFO under the D.C. Chief Financial Officer Vacancy Act, which we got enacted earlier this year, was established by Chairman Issa and is supported by the city. I am particularly grateful to the chairman and also to Majority Leader Cantor for their continued partnership on legislation to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the District of Columbia government.

As with today's bill, their assistance was indispensable last month as the Congress, with bipartisan help from the Senate, agreed for the first time to remove the threat of a D.C. government shutdown by permitting the city to spend its local funds, its own locally raised taxpayer funds, for the entire fiscal year 2014.

While Federal agencies' spending authority expires on January 15, the CR that Congress approved matches the city's responsibility to raise local funds with its right to, therefore, spend these funds, consistent with budget autonomy for the District, which Majority Leader Cantor, Chairman Issa, and Ranking Member Cummings have all supported.

Again, I want to offer not only my own but also the gratitude of the city. The District has chosen a CFO; but, unfortunately, that matter is still pending because it has to lay over here in the Congress. The city is faced with the issue of two sovereigns that must approve a piece of legislation. Whenever I have had anything approaching that kind of emergency, the chairman has gone out of his way to see to it that we proceeded and that the city was not inconvenienced or, dare I say, embarrassed. I very much appreciate the way in which he expedited this bill and got it on a markup--and there have not been a lot of markups--but he made sure this got on the most recent markup. I particularly appreciate his innovation in devising a formula that would, in fact, be approved as I believe and hope it will today by this House.

Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting this bill, and I reserve the balance of my time.

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