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|CHAVOUS FOR MAYOR
1328 Florida Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20009
Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO
Candidate for Mayor of the District of Columbia
Name: Kevin P. Chavous
Address: Chavous for Mayor
Treasurer Victor L. Reid
1. Why are you seeking this office? Explain:
My entire life has been committed to public service. As a young lawyer I was asked by the residents of the Benning Road Power Plant area to represent them on a pro-bono basis in their battle against PEPCO's desire to expand its power plant by building two additional oil-fueled turbine generators. The proposed expansion threatened to further pollute one of the District's most polluted areas. Two years later, working with the River Terrace, Eastland Gardens, Mayfair, Parkside and Kenilworth Gardens community we succeeded in convincing PEPCO to forego their plans. I learned through that experience the strength of a strongly organized community and how to represent the desires of the community.
The District of Columbia is at a critical crossroad in its history. Over the past ten years, many residents and businesses have left the District. To stem this exodus and to rebuild the city, I will focus policy decisions on stabilizing neighborhoods, retaining existing businesses and attracting residential and business development within our neighborhoods. As neighborhoods are protected, supported and helped local- shopping areas with businesses in them once again will become the norm rather than the exception.
My life mentors include A. Phillip Randolph and Walter Reuther whose legacy has made our Country the great nation that it is today. Their struggle to provide fair pay, working conditions and benefits for the nation's workers must not be forgotten by those who wish to become elected representatives of the people. My campaign theme is that I will be a Mayor for every neighborhood. I am seeking the Mayor's office to make the District a world class city, that delivers services in a cost-efficient user friendly manner, provides a quality education for all of our children, delivers health care for those in need and respects the elderly. I plan to reform city government from top to bottom focusing on improving the delivery of city services. In order to achieve this end, a goal of my administration will be to provide District workers with the tools they need to accomplish their work in a timely, cost efficient and safe manner. My top priorities include improving neighborhood schools to assure that every child has equal access to quality education, rebuilding the police department, focusing on making the police more responsive to the constituents they serve. I also will settle for nothing less than the rule of law in the administration of government. It is my hope that success in these areas will assist in the restoration of our democratic rights.
2. What does it mean to you as a candidate to have labors endorsement and support in your campaign? Explain:
Labors endorsement and support is critical to winning this election and to reforming the operations of the District government. As indicated above, one of the goals of my administration will be to improve service delivery to District neighborhoods and commercial corridors. Such a commitment cannot be achieved without involving front-line workers in analyzing service delivery problems and participating in the decision making process necessary to improve service delivery. Reform of the District government cannot occur through the intimidation of workers. My administration will treat workers with respect, promote fair wages, foster safe work environments and welcome the participation of workers in efforts to improve service delivery. Labors endorsement and support of my candidacy would be a welcome sign of our unity on these matters.
3. If labor endorses your candidacy what role would you expect labor to have in your campaign? Explain:
I expect the unions to have a labor desk in my campaign office and to have direct access to me in all aspects of my campaign. I welcome receiving volunteer assistance, help with issue development, financial contributions, host Meet and Greets, sponsor neighborhood walk throughs, telephone banking, mailing assistance, fund raisers, precinct workers, transportation, distribute flyers, voter registration, data entry and election day workers.
4. If labor endorses your candidacy will you be an advocate for workers in matters that affect them? Explain:
Yes, I welcome an ongoing relationship with the unions and your membership.
5. Do you support binding arbitration as a means of settling contract disputes between the DC Government and its union workers? Explain:
I always believe that the best resolution to disagreements is for the parties to meet, discuss and attempt to resolve their differences. As Mayor, it will be my goal to always attempt to resolve contract disputes without the need for employees to consider a strike. Without a negotiated agreement, I certainly would support the principle of binding arbitration on a case-by-case basis.
6. In the past the Mayor and the Council by legislation, aborted the collective bargaining process. They annulled pay raises and imposing wage settlements without going back to the parties involved, would you support this type of unilateral action by the elected officials of the District? Explain:
As Mayor, I certainly could not unilaterally abort the collective bargaining process by annulling pay raises and imposing wage settlements without going back to the parties involved. Under my administration those who negotiate labor agreements for the government will fully understand the range of their authority and level of funding available for potential labor agreements. 1, as Mayor, would not sign the proposed agreement until I was certain that funding for the contract had been identified.
7. The D.C. Revitalization Act, passed by the Congress and signed by the President, directs the Control Board to enact recommendations to eliminate rent control, begin immediate vacancy decontrol and eliminate the Rental Housing Conversion and Sale Act (RHCSA). Do you support the elimination of rent control in the District of Columbia? Explain:
No. I have always been and will remain a strong advocate for rent control and affordable housing. I also do not support vacancy decontrol.
8. As Mayor do you subscribe to the concept of Labor-Management Councils as a viable process for resolving difficulties workplace and is there a role for this process in the government of the District of Columbia? Explain:
I view Labor-Management Councils as partnerships that are key to transforming District government agencies into effective service delivery operations. We need to move away from the antiquated autocratic management structure that has for years micro-managed the work of District employees. Workers at all levels of government must be given the tools of their trade to work efficiently. Businesses and government have successfully used Labor-Management Councils to build teamwork, foster creativity and help to resolve difficulties in the work place. I will encourage all District government agencies to establish Labor-Management Council's within the Chavous administration.
9. Would you support and work for full funding of negotiated collective bargaining contracts? Explain:
Yes, but first, I would assure that those representing the District at collective bargaining negotiations are fully aware of the range of funding available for potential collective bargaining agreements. If the negotiators exceed those levels, I, as Mayor, would not sign the proposed agreement until I was certain that funding for the proposed contract had been identified.
10. What would be your priorities as Mayor of the District of Columbia? Explain:
See response to Question #1.
11. The D.C. Financial Responsibility and Management Assistance Authority has assumed most of the authority and powers of the elected officials of the District of Columbia. How do you as a candidate for an elected position feel running for a position that may be rendered inconsequential? Explain:
I am not in this race to be Mayor of the Department of Recreation. Im running to be the Chief Executive Officer and primary policymaker of the Nations Capitol. I intend to win this election with a strong majority of the vote and with this mandate from District voters I will lobby for the restoration of our democratic rights. I am committed to working with the Control Board, but their policymaking role will be secondary to that of the elected representatives of the people.
12. Please explain in detail your position or views on the following issues: D.C. government downsizing (both personnel and services); re-engineering; contracting out of service which have been performed by the D.C. government employees; and privatizing.
Downsizing & Re-engineering: Never again should the District government downsize based on achieving an arbitrary FTE position ceiling. Reforming the District government requires that workers and their unions be viewed as valuable resources whose recommendations can help set the foundation for excellence in government. I support establishment of performance measures and a system of rewards for Labor-Management teams who are able to streamline operations, increase productivity and reduce operating costs.
Contracting out/Privatization: For years I have been hearing the Control Board discuss their desire to promote managed competition, yet to date, I have not seen one contract issued by the Control Board or by the Government that has allowed District employee to bid on government contracts. I have seen examples of our work force performing work that later resulted in a contractor charging more than the cost of the prior in- house government employee service. (The most recent-bids for the recycling contract are a case in point.) As far as I'm concerned, it is time for the government to step to the plate, level the playing field, and allow District workers to bid on contracts and privatization proposals I am certain that we will see our workers winning many of the contracts.
Over the past three years, many studies of District government have been completed by a number of private consultants paid with public funds by the Control Board. One of the best reports that I have read was titled Service Excellence: A Union Vision for the District of Columbia. The American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, presented this report to the District, at no cost to District taxpayers. As Mayor, I intend to implement many of the recommendations outlined in Service Excellence.
13. Would you work for the passage of legislation supporting the right of all workers in the District of Columbia to organize free of harassment and employer interference and intimidation? Explain.
Yes, I fully support the right of all workers to organize free of harassment and employer interference and intimidation and I support fair pay, benefits and safe working conditions for all workers.
14. Would you support legislation which would bar any tax breaks, licenses, abatements, zoning variances or any other governmental forgiveness to any D.C. employer who has violated any labor, occupational safety and health, or other federal or D.C. Law? Explain:
As a member of the Councils Committee on Public Works and the Environment, I voted in favor of the Clean Hands Legislation that denies the issuance of licenses and permits to any business or individual who fails to pay solid waste or litter violations. I certainly would be interested in meeting with your leadership to discuss expanding this concept to those who have violated labor, occupational safety and health laws.
15. What is your position on legislation to combine the private sector Workers Compensation program with the public sector Disability Compensation program? If you support combining the programs, will you support adjusting the level of benefits in the Disability Compensation program up to the level of those in the private sector? Explain:
My first goal would be to examine the operation of the District program to assure that it is operating in a cost-efficient manner. Savings generated through reductions in operating costs could then be directed to increasing benefit levels. As to the merger of the private sector and District government programs, I would support such a merger if guarantees were in place that the merger would result in streamlining operating costs with no reduction in benefit levels for either group of employees.
16. The business community blames workers compensation and unemployment compensation. Programs for business flight out of the city and recommends rollback of worker benefits under these two programs. Do you support this view? Explain:
It is my opinion that workers' compensation and unemployment compensation benefit levels are a factor but certainly not the real or only reason that businesses may not locate in the District. Other factors include high rental rates, parking difficulties, taxes, urban density and rush hour commutes.
17. Would you support legislation, which would keep worker benefits under these two programs at current levels? Explain:
18. Would you support legislation, which would extend the prevailing wage to all city funded construction projects? Explain:
19. Would you support requiring all contractors bidding on a public works job to have a registered apprentice program and to provide health benefits for their employee? Explain:
Yes, and I would expect them to commit to hiring District residents.
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