District of Columbia Financial Control Board
The District of Columbia Financial Control Board (officially the District of Columbia Financial Responsibility and Management Assistance Authority) was a five-member body established by the United States Congress in 1995 to oversee the finances of Washington, D.C. Created through the District of Columbia Financial Responsibility and Management Assistance Act of 1995, the board had the power to override decisions by Washington's mayor and city council.
It suspended its activities on September 30, 2001, when the District achieved its fourth consecutive balanced budget.
Article I, Section 8 The United States Constitution grants Congress the authority "To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States." However, after several attempts at governing bodies of various structures and independence, Congress in 1973 passed legislation (the District of Columbia Home Rule Act) investing local government in a mayor and 13-member city council, to be elected by the District's citizens. However, all legislation and executive actions were subject to congressional oversight and approval.
By the mid-1990s, however, DC's elected officials had mired the capital in a financial crisis. In particular, the mayoral administrations of Marion Barry and Sharon Pratt Kelly had frequently outspent their budgets, squandering city finances by the hiring vast numbers of city employees (so many that the city could not keep track of precisely how many), mismanagement, and extravagances. A Government Accounting Office audit conducted during Kelly's administration in 1994 projected a $1 billion shortfall by Fiscal Year 1999; when Barry regained the office of mayor in 1995, his new administration found that FY96 would include a deficit of over $700 million.
Barry soon petitioned Congress for financial rescue — although his proposal did not include significant cuts in the city's budget or payroll but relied on federal funding to compensate for the gap in funding. At that time, however, Republicans had just taken control of Congress, based partly on promises of fiscal restraint; instead of injecting federal cash into the city, Congress enacted legislation to create the Control Board, assuming budgetary and spending oversight over the mayor's office.
- Alice M. Rivlin, chair, 1998–2001
- Constance Berry Newman, 1995–2001
- Robert P. Watkins III, 1998–2001
- Eugene Kinlow, 1998–2001
- Andrew Brimmer, chair, 1995–98
- Stephen Harlan, 1995–98
- Joyce Ladner, 1995–98
- Edward Singletary, 1995–98
- Darius Mans, 1998–2000
John W. Hill, Jr. was the first executive director of the board. He was followed by Francis S. Smith. The Control Board's first chief of staff was Yolanda Branche, followed by Russell Smith. For the entire term of the Control Board's life, Daniel A. Rezneck was its general counsel and Dexter Lockamy was its chief financial officer.
- Board website, archived 2001-10-09.
- "History of Self-Government in the District of Columbia". Council of the District of Columbia. 2008. Retrieved 2010-11-23.
- "District of Columbia Home Rule Act". Government of the District of Columbia. February 1999. Retrieved 2010-11-23.
- Janofsky, Michael (1998-05-30). "Fed's No. 2 Chosen to Lead District of Columbia's Financial Board". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-08-04.
- White House, Office of the Press Secretary (1998-05-29). "President Clinton Appoints Members of District of Columbia Financial Responsibility and Management Assistance Authority". Retrieved 2008-08-04.
- Janofsky, Michael (1995-06-01). "First Members Are Named to Washington Financial Control Board". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-08-04.
- White House, Office of the Press Secretary (1998-08-04). "President Clinton Appoints Members of District of Columbia Financial Responsibility and Management Assistance Authority". Retrieved 2008-08-04.
- White House, Office of the Press Secretary (1995-06-06). "President Clinton Names Remaining Two Members to Washington, D.C. Financial Responsibility Authority". Retrieved 2008-08-04.
- Janofsky, Michael (1995-04-08). "Congress Creates Board To Oversee Washington, D.C.". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-08-04.
- District of Columbia Financial Responsibility and Management Assistance Act of 1995
- Internet Archive copy of board's website, dcfra.gov
- "Metro Special Report: D.C. Control Board". The Washington Post. 1998. Retrieved 2008-08-04.
- Barras, Jonetta Rose (2000-11-10). "Losing Control". Washington City Paper. Retrieved 2008-08-06.