Mayor Gray’s Former Chief of Staff Admits Wrongdoings, Conflicting Statements

April 14, 2011  |  

(Afro) — Two days of testimony about the questionable hiring practices of Mayor Vincent Gray’s administration seem to indicate he was unaware of the nepotism practiced by some of his staff and the alleged quid pro quo hiring of former mayoral candidate Sulaimon Brown.  On April 7, 11 witnesses were called before the Committee on Government Operations & the Environment in the second round of executive practices hearings led by D.C. Councilmember Mary Cheh, D-Ward 3. The witnesses’ testimonies—like their predecessors’—spun a tangled web of missteps in vetting, called-in favors and specially handled hires and conflicting reports that will prove difficult to unravel.  But there was at least one common thread in several of the accounts—Gerri Mason Hall.  Mason Hall, the mayor’s hired—then fired—chief of staff, admitted to wrongly setting salaries above acceptable caps among other missteps.  “I realized there were errors,” she testified in her opening statement. “Our approach was lacking.”  As former employee for Sodexo, Mason Hall said her salary was nearly $300,000, and her position in Gray’s administration was a step back salary-wise. Hall said she proposed a $200,000 salary to Gray, which he was “comfortable” with.

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