Hello - Effective immediately I am resigning as chair of ANC1A. I have great concerns over anyones ability to maintain order and productivity at a meeting of ANC1A. I hope the next chair proves me wrong. Thanks, Cliff Valenti ANC1A08That message was posted not by Valenti, but forwarded to the listserve by commissioner Lenwood Johnson, to which commissioner Betty Pair objected, in an email not sent to the list: "It seems to me that Cliff should have been allowed to make his own announcement about what he is or is not doing on the commission.. .and not to have been pre-empted by Lenwood Johnson."
Johnson's response, which he forwarded to the Ward One listserve: "Betty,
I simply forwarded Cliff's resignation note to the public. I would think any sensible person would find nothing wrong with my action. However, I'm not surprised by your response."
Followed by a resident, Sam Moore: "Mr. Johnson,
After your illegal behavior last night, Im not surprised by your response."
Johnson: "Mr. Moore,
I'm sorry that I parked too close to a fire hydrant Wednesday night. (Luckily, I didn't get a ticket.)"
Moore: "Hatch Act, I wish you gave a damn."
Johnson: "...And I wish you would take the time to find understand the Hatch Act, which is applicable only to government employees. I am not a government employee; I am an elected government official."
Moore: "Well, since it's a D.C. electeded position, the Federal Hatch Act does apply."
Johnson: "am neither a federal nor local government employee, so the Hatch Act does not apply to me. I"
Then another resident acts as the voice of reason, and the bickering stops: "I hope you all realize that you are sending out your childish banter to the entire listserv. It's neither appropriate for this forum or becoming of adults. Please keep it to yourselves."
I'm not sure what the purported "illegal behavior" was. Over on the Columbia Heights Yahoo group, a resident posted an email where Valenti explains his resignation, saying that rules weren't followed at the meetings, commissioners were using money without reporting why (like paying cell phone bills), aren't following up on grants to see if they're spent properly, and actually advocates that ANCs be dissolved. Interesting stuff.
UPDATE: Commenters say Johnson was wearing a Fenty sticker. I'm not sure if that does violate the Hatch Act, which prevents federal and DC employees from political campaigning, but which doesn't cover the DC mayor and city council. However, I'm not sure if ANC commissioners are counted as DC employees -- I would think not, but the issue is somewhat unclear, though as of 2009, the special counsel ruled that it does cover ANC commissioners, meaning Johnson was wrong. However, wearing a political sticker may also violate ANC rules. Not sure.
UPDATE 2: These two got into it before as well, using the same forward-to-listserve method of escalating the argument.