New Bills Address Language Access, Late D.C. Government Payments and ANC Absenteeism
Posted on September 22, 2015 at 11:22 AM
Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau introduces bills to improve D.C. government services, increase ANC accountability
WASHINGTON — Bills introduced today in the D.C. Council would enforce the requirement to provide District government information in multiple languages, apply pressure on District agencies to address late payments to grantees and contractors, and remove Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners from office who are chronically absent from their duties. The bills from Ward 1 D.C. Councilmember Brianne K. Nadeau are aimed at making District government more efficient, accessible, and accountable.
“All three of these bills will help improve District government,” said Nadeau. “Better enforcement of existing language access rules will ensure that all residents have reliable information about their government. When District agencies drag their feet on payments to grantees and contractors, they create unnecessary, and sometimes very serious, problems for our community partners. ANC absenteeism can paralyze the process, holding up action on a range of major community issues.”
Councilmember Nadeau will be introducing the following bills:
Language Access Compliance Amendment Act of 2015
The Language Access Act allows victims of violations of that law to file complaints, but often complaints are not filed because of fear of retaliation. Councilmember Nadeau’s Language Access Compliance Amendment would require the Office of Human Rights to conduct at least 3 field tests per year, which would uncover violations and create improvements to language access compliance without waiting for a complaint. Field tests are permissible, but not required, under current legislation. Mandatory field tests will help address the prevalence of unreported violations. This bill is co-introduced by Councilmembers Elissa Silverman, Charles Allen and Vincent Orange.
Sense of the Council Regarding Quick Payment Compliance Resolution of 2015
Many District grant recipients and contractors complain of late payments from District agencies, an especially burdensome cash flow issue for smaller organizations. Current rules allow contractors to file complaints, which can result in the assessment of interest penalties, but many contractors worry that filing complaints would put their chances of doing future work with the District at risk. This Sense of the Council resolution formalizes Council’s commitment through its oversight process to ensure timely payments. This bill is co-introduced by Councilmembers Elissa Silverman, David Grosso and Vincent Orange.
Advisory Neighborhood Commission Absenteeism Accountability Amendment Act of 2015
This legislation would make it easier for ANCs to reliably have the quorum required to conduct official business. Any Commissioner who ceases to attend his or her Commission’s official public meetings for three months will be considered resigned from the position. That seat would then be filled by someone more able to make the commitment to attend meetings as required. This legislation was requested via resolution by ANC 1A, and it mirrors similar language already in the procedures governing ANC 1B. This bill is co-introduced by Councilmembers Anita Bonds and Elissa Silverman.
About Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne K. Nadeau
In her many years of service to the community, Councilmember Brianne K. Nadeau (D-Ward 1) has brought perspectives from a career that spans the non-profit, public and private sectors. She is committed to strengthening our schools, increasing affordable housing and promoting government transparency and the highest ethical standards. Prior to joining the Council, she was a strategic advisor to faith-based, Democratic and environmental non-profits, and is a former ANC. Follow her on Twitter @brianneknadeau or at Facebook.com/brianneknadeau.
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